Michael Burgess: Konrad Hurrell back under the microscope

Jake Trbojevic is taken off the field on a stretcher following a hit-up from Konrad Hurrell. Photo / Getty
Jake Trbojevic is taken off the field on a stretcher following a hit-up from Konrad Hurrell. Photo / Getty

You have to feel for Konrad Hurrell.

After the most difficult season of his career - with injuries, an untimely suspension and form lapses which saw many questioning his future at the club - Hurrell needed a few months out of the spotlight.

Instead, he'll come back into focus in the build up to the NRL season, after the unfortunate incident against Manly yesterday at the Nines.

Sea Eagles captain Jake Trbojevic was left concussed after clashing with the knee of Hurrell, when he got his head in the wrong position as he attempted to tackle the Tongan international.

It was far from intentional from Hurrell - and he was crestfallen after the episode- but it won't stop the Australian media raising more questions about Hurrell's running style.

Former Kiwi international Craig Smith suffered a similar predicament in the 1990s, and went to England for an period to escape the attention.

At first glance yesterday, as Warriors coach Andrew McFadden pointed out, it was mostly a case of poor tackle technique. The first contact seemed to be made with Hurrell's arm - as he leaned down to fend off Trbojevic.

Hurrell has, by all reports, done everything right in the build up to this season. The club has been delighted with his attitude and application in pre-season training and he is obviously in great physical shape. Hurrell has also acknowledged his shortcomings of the past two seasons and vowed to take a more professional approach to the game.

But because of yesterday, Hurrell will be monitored closely during this NRL season, under the microscope every time he has the ball in hand.

It's curious, because there wasn't any questions raised about his running style or technique in the first three years of his NRL career. It's only because of the Anthony Tupou incident, and the subsequent four week suspension. The Sharks back rower suffered an horrific injury but partly because he, like Trbojevic, put his head in completely the wrong place.

- NZ Herald

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