Bulldogs fullback Nick Meaney admits it was deeply frustrating to break a rib after finally getting a chance in his preferred fullback role this year, but after a match-winning effort in his return game is hoping for a longer stint in the No.1 jersey.
Meaney was crunched by Latrell Mitchell in his team's Good Friday loss and missed two weeks, but a knee injury to Dallin Watene-Zelezniak allowed him to return in the fullback role for what proved to be the team's first win of the season – an emotional 18-12 win over the Sharks on Saturday.
Meaney powered his way over for a critical try in that game and provided a safe pair of hands and steady presence at the back.
"I prefer fullback as a position so I was unfortunate to get hurt with my ribs when I went back there against the Rabbitohs," Meaney told NRL.com.
"To get another shot this weekend at fullback and the win as well, it brings me a lot of confidence and hopefully the team."
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The timing of the injury was particularly frustrating, he added.
"It wasn't what I wanted but it's what happens in football; you get hurt," he said.
"You've just got to stay positive and do what you can to get back on the field.
"It took a few needles to get right for the game but it pulled up all right so hopefully it will be good for next week and hopefully I can stay there.
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"It was very painful but we move on. See how I go this week with recovery, I'll probably need a needle again but that's OK, whatever gets me on the field."
Like the rest of the team, Meaney was emotional and relieved to finally get the first win of the year, though he said it would have been better if the team didn't make things so hard for themselves with a raft of second-half errors.
"It was really good, a bit of a weight off our shoulders but it doesn't mean much if we don't do it again next week," he said.
"Everyone was out on their feet on the weekend but that's what it takes to win NRL games. We made it hard on ourselves, we made a lot of errors in the second half.
"It didn't have to be that hard but just to know we can win when it's that hard and if we stick to our game plan it's going to be easier and we'll see more wins come our way."
The club has already used three different fullbacks, two five-eighths and four dummy-halves this year which has made building combinations tricky but Meaney hopes the inexperienced spine can take plenty out of their first win.
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"Those boys are young as well, so just to see how much better can get, more confident and comfortable around each other, it's exciting," he said.
"It's a marathon, not a sprint. Hopefully we can start to gel together and create a good spine that works well together just like all the good clubs do.
"Just knowing who's outside you and how they play. I was defending with Nick Cotric, learning how he likes to defend and what his movements are like. It does take time. Hopefully now, we're seven rounds in we should be nailing our jobs."