After 10 months in recovery, Sam Hoare has been named in the Townsville Blackhawks team for Round 7 of the Intrust Super Cup.
Last season looked to be an impact year for the talented forward, making a successful return from two previous injuries.
Hoare was named in the starting side for three consecutive games with the North Queensland Cowboys - but he then tore his ACL for the third time in Round 15 when playing against the New Zealand Warriors.
“I was pretty devastated at the time,” Hoare said. “I thought I was back to playing some of my best footy.
“There was a lot of uncertainty around at that time too because I knew I was coming off contract."
Fast forward to 2019; Hoare is now contracted to the Blackhawks and is returning to the playing squad after his lengthy injury layoff.
Standing at a height of 195cm and weighing 112kg, Hoare has the size and ability that appeals to many clubs, but said he is happy with his choice to stay at the Blackhawks.
“I’m really enjoying being at the Mendi Blackhawks,” Hoare said. “It’s not just about the footy, it’s also about the lifestyle.
“I’ve been lucky enough to secure a full-time position with Queensland Country and still get to play footy, so things have fallen into place for me.”
The former Mackay Cutters player paid tribute to his family and partner Micaela Cocks, who is a professional basketball player with the Townsville Fire, for helping him get back to playing.
“My family are always very supportive and are always there for me.
“And being an athlete herself, Micaela knows the highs and low of professional sport.
“She is a great sounding board to talk to and knows what you put your body through each game.
“I was also given some good advice from Brent Tate, who said don’t put too much expectation on myself for my first few games back.
“Just (to) try to work on getting back to the player I was slowly, and things will fall into place.
“Playing NRL is what most rugby league players aspire to, but for now, I’m just looking forward to getting back out and playing my best footy again.
If I do that, then who knows what the future may bring, but that’s a fair bit down the track.”
Blackhawks coach Aaron Payne said he is looking forward to Hoare’s return.
“Sam has been working really hard to get back to where he is today,” Payne said.
“I know he has a driving force to get back to his best.
“Long-term injuries are always more difficult, but he has shown a lot of courage and commitment to his recovery and now this is his reward for that.
“Sam has a lot of experience and leadership that he will bring into the team this weekend and I’m really excited for him.”
Match: Devils v Blackhawks
Round 7 -
Venue: Bishop Park, Brisbane
The Blackhawks travel to Bishop Park this Saturday to take on the Norths Devils. Kick off is at 5pm.