Cowboys outside back Enari Tuala is ready to pounce in his return to the top grade against Manly tomorrow. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Cowboys outside back Enari Tuala is ready to pounce in his return to the top grade against Manly tomorrow. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Cowboys youngster aims for great strides in return

UP AND coming backline star Enari Tuala is looking to hit full flight for the Cowboys after overcoming a quad strain which has kept him grounded for more than a month.

The 20-year-old Cairns product has slowly made his return to football through Cowboys feeder club Northern Pride in the Queensland Cup.

Tuala was a late withdrawal from the Cowboys' Magic Round squad last month and has not been seen in the top grade since. But the centre revealed he had been battling through pain for several weeks before that clash.

"It was annoying me for a while, but I think I am feeling all right now," Tuala said.

"When I was trying to stride out I could feel it tightening up. It was bothering me for the past two or three weeks (before I went off). I probably wasn't pushing myself as much (as I could), but I should be right for this weekend."

Tuala spent two weeks off the field working with Cowboys head physiotherapist Steve Sartori as he aimed to ease the workload on his quadriceps.

"(Sartori) said the pain will be there for a while but eventually it will go away," Tuala said. "I am feeling more confident now and should be feeling sweet this weekend." He made his return in the centres for the Northern Pride, and while the Cairns-based club has struggled for results in the Queensland Cup, Tuala's output has been steadily on the rise.

He managed 69m with the ball in hand on his return game, before hitting triple figures last weekend against Easts Tigers. He also made one tackle, a linebreak and crossed for a much-needed try in the 40-22 loss.

"It was good (playing for the Pride), we didn't get a win the last two weeks but I think they will start getting a win soon," he said.

Tuala has been called back into the Cowboys side for tomorrow night's home clash against Manly in place of the injured Gideon Gela-Mosby, who was ruled out for at least six weeks after he fractured his collarbone in the win over the Titans.