Newcastle prop Kade Snowden says he’s injury-free for the first time in four years and happy to be back in the representative frame.
When Snowden runs out for NSW Country against City in Wagga Wagga on Sunday, it will be a case of returning to square one for the 28-year-old.
He was last sighted in the representative ranks in 2011 after breaking into the Australian and NSW side.
At the time it appeared a bright future was at his feet but he fell away sharply after a move to Newcastle from Cronulla in 2012.
But he has opened the 2015 NRL season strongly with the Knights, which he puts down to shaking a troublesome back injury which has hindered him since his breakout 2011 season.
“It’s all based on having injuries coming into the year. And this year I haven’t had any,” he said.
“I had a good pre-season and it’s showing in my football.
“I’ve got two bulging discs in my back and on my neck and it’s what’s held me back the last couple of years.
“And my knees are pretty worn out. It’s just a matter of keeping them right.”
Since 2011 he has had to constantly manage his back and neck issues which have hampered his recovery.
Over time his ailments have eased and he says it is showing in his football.
“It’s been the main part, having no injuries, you have no doubt in the back of your mind,” he says when asked about the reasons for his form reversal.
“You can go harder and go for longer and that’s all to do with the pre-season I’ve had.”
Snowden is now back where it all began – with NSW Country. He says his berth in the side in 2010 was a springboard to bigger and better things.
He knows he has slid down the the NSW front row pecking order but is just happy to be considered for representative honours.
“(State of Origin) is every footballer’s dream to make that next step up in rugby league,” he said.
“It’s a massive honour and hopefully I can get back there.”