Timana Tahu warned Waratahs officials before Christmas that he was in danger of breaking down.
Pleading for a personalised training program, Tahu was ignored and the superstar rugby league recruit is now counting the cost of a hamstring injury he believes should have been avoided.
David Riccion writes in The Sunday Telegraph that Tahu could be sidelined for the next six weeks after snapping his hamstring at training. The injury could cost the father of three up to $20,000 in match payments.
The former Eel has been branded a crock following yet another injury-enforced lay-off, but the centre has been at loggerheads with members of the Waratahs coaching and medical staff for the past four months.
“I just want to get back on the field and play good rugby, that’s what I joined union to do. I’m committed to playing well for the Waratahs,” Tahu said.
The former league international believes he has been pushed to do an unrealistic fitness program, worlds away from the monitored and player-specific training of his final season in the NRL at Parramatta.
Tahu was battling a back-related hamstring problem in December and called a meeting with Waratahs coaching and medical staff.
It’s understood he wanted the meeting following a three-hour training block that included an agility session, weights session, treadmill session, followed by a high-intensity skills session.
Tahu is said to have asked NSW officials to alter their training methods, allow him to listen to his body and prepare a training regimen suited to a player with a history of fatigued-related injuries spread over 143 NRL games.
The meeting included coach Ewen McKenzie and medical and coaching staff.
McKenzie is understood to have supported Tahu, stressing their star recruit needed a specific program.
Despite his coach’s support, Tahu was subjected to five consecutive days of training during the Waratahs’ bye week.
Tahu was told he needed to train under “game conditions, when you’re fatigued” and “this is what you have to do to prove your fitness in rugby union”.
An hour later, Tahu was laid up with ice pressed to his snapped hamstring and his immediate future under a cloud.
He is said to be dejected and insulted that he is now perceived to be injury-prone when the entire drama could have been avoided if his concerns were heeded.
“He’s not fed up with the code, but he’s frustrated in that he’s tried to tell them what he needs and what his body requires,” a source close to Tahu said.
Tahu was also disappointed in media reports suggesting that he hadn’t been running at 100 per cent in seven years.
“That certainly wasn’t what he meant,” the source said.
“He worked so hard to reach representative status in rugby league and it read like he was kicking his league mates in the teeth.
“In rugby league you make a break but then you’re at a fast cruising pace. Then you clap it on again. It’s here that he would definitely be reaching top gear.
“Also, how would he be able to slam dunk the footy over a crossbar every time he scores if his hamstrings were stuffed?”
Tahu has agreed to radical plans by the Waratahs to change his running style.
He remains committed to succeeding in rugby, telling friends that returning to the NRL is not an option.Tweet