HE IS sick of the sight of the Mt Smart Stadium running track but Micheal Luck hopes the hard work he is putting in will result in a return to the playing field for the Warriors' round four match against the Gold Coast Titans.
Loose forward Luck is recovering well from surgery before Christmas on his troublesome left shoulder and has been running up the kilometres, the only training he has been able to do since the grand final defeat by Manly in October.
"I wish we trained somewhere else because running around the track gets a bit boring," said Luck as he surveyed the track surrounding the Warriors' training field. "I just can't wait to get back, especially now they're playing this week. The competitive urge starts flowing again."
The Warriors play the Titans in a pre-season match at North Harbour Stadium on Saturday, with their first match proper the grand final rematch against Manly at Eden Park on Sunday, March 4.
Fortunately for Luck, a change in his training regime is imminent. He hopes to start on the weights again tomorrow after seeing a specialist "then it's probably a month of lifting and getting size back because it's just wasted away".
While that will be partly due to his lack of weight training, his running regime could also be responsible, though he laughed when asked about rumours he was posting impressive split times on the track.
"I just want to get back playing. I don't think I was built to be a 5000m runner. I was going really well before Christmas, before I got the op done. With all the hard fitness work we were doing I was going as good as I ever have so I was a bit disappointed to go and lose all that. I had about two weeks of nothing after the op and now I'm just slowly building."
It's little wonder Luck is eager to get back on the field. The 29-year-old is one of the club's most durable players and has missed only 10 of a possible 154 games since making his Warriors debut in 2006.
Luck's surgery on his AC joint wasn't the only operation he had to have after the grand final - he also needed an operation on his left wrist after x-rays revealed a broken scaphoid.
Now he is on the verge of stepping up his comeback under new coach Brian McClennan, who yesterday named his first squad for the Warriors.
"He's brought in a few new ideas but we're going to keep a lot of the structures of last year and just give them a few new names and refine how we do them," said Luck of McClennan.
"We're not changing the whole game so the boys are really comfortable with it and as we've trained a bit more they've become a bit more fluent."
McClennan has named a squad of 25 to play on Saturday night, with a relaxed interchange rule to be enforced.
Apart from Luck, he is without prop Russell Packer (compartment syndrome), centre Jerome Ropati (knee) and fullback Kevin Locke (shoulder). Winger Manu Vatuvei is unavailable as he is playing for the NRL All Stars against the Indigenous All Stars on the Gold Coast.
Lewis Brown, Glen Fisiiahi, Nathan Friend, Pita Godinet, Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Krisnan Inu, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Sam Lousi, Sione Lousi, James Maloney, Simon Mannering (c), Alehana Mara, Feleti Mateo, Ben Matulino, Ivan Penehe, Sam Rapira, Steve Rapira, Ukuma Ta'ai, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Elijah Taylor, Carlos Tuimavave, Bill Tupou.
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