He was only supposed to miss two and a half months of game time due to injury but now eight and a half months down the track, Emre Guler is preparing to return to NRL action.
The Raiders prop suffered a fracture in his ankle against the Dragons in round eight last year, just as he was beginning to cement a place in Ricky Stuart’s side.
“I went for a hit up and my foot got stuck under someone’s body and I fractured - they call it the malleolus bone, which is connected to the heel,” Guler said. “We thought I’d be out maybe eight weeks tops, but then every time I got a scan it was two steps forwards, one step back.
“It went to twelve weeks, and then that came around and it’s not ready and before you know it, the season is over. It was pretty depressing last year but you know, that’s footy.”
As the rest of the squad dispersed at the end of the 2020 season, Guler continued working hard on his rehabilitation and began running the week before pre-season training commenced.
“At the start of pre-season they threw me into fulltime training just to see how I’d go with the training loads,” Guler said. “It was pretty tough. Having not run for so long I was at the back of everything.
“It was pretty tough. It took me a while but I slowly got back there. I feel good now.”
Having reached his targets through pre-season training, Guler spent the opening rounds of the season playing in NSW Cup and has been feeling the rewards.
“I’ve been working on the stuff that Ricky and the coaches wanted me to get better at which was just really getting used to playing footy again, and getting all the little things in my game right again,” Guler said. “Playing NSW Cup probably wasn’t a bad idea for me to get back into the swing of things. I enjoyed it, I thought it was good.”
Having impressed the coaching staff his performances, the message that Emre has been receiving is to produce more of the same.
“They said, all the things I’d been working on in Cup have been good so keep doing it that,” Guler said. “We spoke about Parramatta having a big pack. It’ll be good challenge for us against them. I’m looking forward to that challenge in the middle.”
This game this Saturday will also mark Guler’s first appearance since signing a contract extension until the end of 2023.
Emre Guler re-signs
“It’s exciting man,” Guler said. “I’ve been here since 2016 playing under 20s. I’m excited to prove myself here and I still feel like I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot to prove.”