Rehab can be a draining and lonely experience for most NRL players.
But for Canberra’s Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer, it’s become the perfect time to bond.
Both underwent shoulder operations in the off-season and are using recovery sessions in the gym to discuss plans for what could be the most formidable halves combination in the competition.
Austin, heading into his second year at the Raiders, said new recruit Sezer was a “pretty cheeky fella” – but that made him only easier to get along with.
“We’re forging a pretty good relationship,” the Dally M five-eighth of the year said on Thursday.
“We’ve already started to talk a bit of footy in the gym.
“I think it’s a real positive to come out of a negative situation.”
Austin said he had a lot of respect for fellow 24-year-old Sezer, who has joined the club from the Gold Coast on a three-year deal.
The pair have kept a close eye on each other for several years, having played junior football together in western Sydney.
“We’re just going to compliment each other,” said Austin.
“I think we can both see that. It’s just about getting our injuries right and getting on the field and working hard.”
There’s no guarantee the green No.7 jumper will be Sezer’s in 2016, given Sam Williams’ impressive efforts alongside Austin last season.
The former Titan, though, isn’t feeling any extra pressure, claiming there was competition for spots at every club.
But he believes Canberra, under the stewardship of Ricky Stuart, was the right place for him to reach his full potential.
“I was never short of a drama (on the Gold Coast). There was a fair bit of turmoil around the joint for the four years I was up there,” he said.
“That was (behind) my decision to come here, to take another step in my career and progress as a half.”