SAM MOA is grafting hard to return to Super League action and he is promising to put the frustrations of his lengthy injury absence into every tackle on his comeback.
The 33-year-old prop forward has had a bone graft to help repair a badly broken arm he sustained during a match at Leeds last July. He recently needed a second operation after he bent metal plates and broke screws from the initial surgery.
The hard-hitting Tongan international, nicknamed the Lawn Moa for his habit of cutting down opponents on the pitch, told League Express the past eight months have been the worst of his career.
“When I broke the arm I didn’t realise that it was quite a bad fracture,” said Moa.
“It wasn’t a clean break but lots of little fragments. The first surgeon put a metal plate in and it should have healed in three to four months. I got to the six-month stage and did some contact work in training and I felt something wasn’t right.
“A scan revealed that the plate had bent and one of the screws was broken. The bone hadn’t fused together properly, what they call a non-union, so I went for a second opinion from one of the best surgeons in the region who specialises in upper limb injuries. He had a lot of experience with rugby union players in Montpellier and the moment I met him I was confident, so we got the operation done and it’s come along extremely well.
“I’m not blaming the first surgeon; it could be just a mishap or a variety of things. I might have tried to play too soon or pushed myself too hard lifting weights. So they put a stronger plate in this time with some more screws and took a bone graft from my hip, which encourages the healing process.
“It’s only been a few weeks since the second operation, but already my range of movement is much better and I have no pain whatsoever. It feels much different to last time and I feel really confident. It’s up to me now to be diligent with the recovery, be patient and, when I’m ready, I can release all of my frustrations out there on the field. I’m confident I’ll be a hundred per cent real soon.”
Moa’s team-mate, former Wigan Warriors centre Tom Davies is also looking at an earlier-than-scheduled recovery from surgery and could feature in the Dragons squad for Saturday’s home clash against Salford. Davies suffered a triple ankle fracture and dislocation during last season’s Good Friday clash against St Helens and he too is raring to go for his new club following successful surgery.
He told League Express: “There’s no real schedule for an injury like this, people heal at different rates. The real guide is how it feels and it’s up to me to make sure I don’t come back too soon and be a hindrance to the team. It’s crucial that I’m at full fitness.
“Rob Parkinson, our physio, knows best and he’ll let me know when I’m ready to restart. There’s a chance against Salford this week and it would be massive for me to make my debut for the Dragons in a home game. I’m absolutely buzzing but we’ll have to see what Rob says first.”
In other news from Perpignan, the Dragons are still seeking a French television company to provide live coverage of games at Stade Gilbert Brutus for the remainder of the 2020 season. The club is in negotiations with national television channel W9 and, if a deal is struck, they could be back on TV screens as early as this Saturday’s home Super League clash against Salford.
The Dragons are also having discussions this week about taking their June 27 home game with Toronto Wolfpack on the road, with Monaco now emerging as a possible venue alongside other potential stadia in Marseille and Toulon.
Meanwhile, the Dragons have been issued with an advisory notice by the RFL’s Compliance Department following an investigation into stewarding at their last home match against Castleford Tigers, following complaints on social media about the treatment of Castleford supporters who had taken rainbow flags into the Stade Gilbert Brutus.
While the Dragons will suffer no sanction, the advisory notice requires the club to prevent any future confusion around policies relating to any flags at the stadium, both with spectators and all staff who are employed by the stadium.
“This should include clear messaging to stewards regarding the club’s policy on flags and the club’s and Rugby League’s commitment to inclusivity – including the Enjoy the Game campaign – and the right for spectators to respectfully promote this inclusion.”