Duffie earns high praise for NRL comeback

They say a week’s a long time in football – how about 862 days.

That’s how long it had been between tries for unlucky Melbourne Storm winger Matt Duffie.

Playing in his third match and his first at AAMI Park in his latest return from injury, the popular Kiwi scored a double in the Storm’s 36-14 win over the Gold Coast.

Only 24, Duffie has already undergone two shoulder and two knee reconstructions.

He looked like he was out to make up for lost time against the Titans, scoring a try in each half.

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith said it was just reward for Duffie’s work on his long road back to the NRL after his career was put on hold in early 2013.

“It’s a credit to him after what he’s been through, particularly for a young guy and as severe as those injuries were,” Smith said.

“There were days I’d come into training and it looked like he’d had enough and that was fair enough.

“I spent about six or eight weeks in the rehab room and that was enough for me and he spent probably three years in there.”

Smith said teammates who rushed to congratulate Duffie after his first try were thrilled to see him get across the line again.

“That just brings him a lot of confidence and he’s been stronger each game that he’s played and that’s a great thing for our side,” Smith said.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said Duffie’s presence also helped fullback Cameron Munster and winger Marika Koroibete.

“The one thing besides his athletic ability he has is that his communication is very good and he’s really helpful to Munster and Marika,” Bellamy said.

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