Wallace blows Titans away with thirst for extra work

Wallace putting in the hard yards early

Jarrod Wallace's thirst for extra work on the training paddock has blown the Titans staff away as the powerhouse prop targets a round three NRL return from suspension.

The Maroons forward had three surgeries on his ankle, groin and shoulder in the off-season and knew he had some extra work to do to catch up with the rest of the squad.

To get where he needs to be Wallace has been asking for extra sessions, including the boxing workout he had on Tuesday with Leilani Latu and Konrad Hurrell at Titans HQ.

It is that dedication which has impressed Titans head of athletic performance Hayden Knowles.

"I have a couple of extra additions to the staff, Craig Catterick and Steve Driscoll, who are looking after Jarrod's rehab in a way that I don't think he's had before and they have worked him really hard," Knowles told NRL.com.

"Over the Christmas break Steve worked with Jarrod who had asked for the extra work, which tells you how much it means to him this year.

I'd hate to stand in front of him that is for sure. There are taller front-rowers but Wallace is more a chunky powerhouse.

Hayden Knowles

"Jarrod knew he was behind and he and Steve were catching up on Boxing Day and New Year 's Eve and all those days when no-one else was training.

"He has to work hard because he's had injuries and has to shed a couple of kilos, but he is the one who asked for that extra session [on Tuesday] which I am really happy about. He is not afraid of hard work and he is getting better every day, and I know that is his focus."

Wallace said his extra work had paid dividends.

"It has been a very frustrating pre-season for me, coming back from my groins and shoulder everything came good and then I went over on my ankle and got surgery on that," he said.

"The coaching staff have done a really good job and I reckon I am ahead of schedule by a week.

"I have done a full week with no pain and I am recovering really well … and back in the full-time squad now."

Wallace conceded missing the opening two rounds "does suck" as he prides himself on not missing games.

"I just have to make sure I am putting in on and off the field and making sure that when it is round three [against the Dragons] I am ready to go and I am flying," he said.

"Those three surgeries set me back so I am trying to get back to the same fitness I had last year and the same weight and make sure I have my head switched on."

Wallace's 2017 was outstanding on a personal level. He made his Queensland debut, winning both Origin games he played in.

Jarrod Wallace during his first State of Origin series.
Jarrod Wallace during his first State of Origin series. ©Jason O'Brien/NRL Photos

Knowles said Wallace had the physical qualities to go with his commitment to continue to be a handful in 2018.

Wallace is one of the more powerful forwards Knowles has worked with. For defenders, when the 26-year-old front-rower motors it is like having a mobile wardrobe hurtling towards them.

"Jarrod is a bit short and stocky like a Fuifui Moimoi in an Australian version rather than a Tongan one with his big hips and arse on him," Knowles said.

"I'd hate to stand in front of him that is for sure. There are taller front-rowers but Wallace is more a chunky powerhouse.

"Everyone is trying to stop people finding their front and slow down the play the ball and he is just so hard to handle when he gets his timing and execution right."

And it's getting his execution right with his tackles rather than toning down any aggression which will be the former Bronco's focus after getting a three-week suspension for a shoulder charge in round 25 last year.

"I have never been the most aggressive person on the field, but last year I wanted to tray and bring that into my game," Wallace said.

"Playing bigger minutes I didn't just want to go into my shell and tackle and run. I wanted to make sure those minutes were quality and bring a bit of aggression. It is the most aggressive game in the world and I want to keep that up and just be smart with it."