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Chooks' TKO knocked down by mental demons

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/04/2017 Steve Zemek

Sio Siua Taukeiaho has revealed he was ready to return for the Sydney Roosters from a long-term knee injury a fortnight ago but aborted his comeback because of mental demons.

The hard-hitting back-rower, nicknamed TKO, made a successful NRL comeback in Friday's win over Newcastle but said he could have stepped back onto the park a week earlier.

During his rehabilitation from a torn ACL, which he suffered in August last year, Taukeiaho also had to wage a battle in his mind.

Would the New Zealand international be able to get back to his best? Was his surgically-repaired knee ready for the rigours of the NRL? Or would he break down again?

They were all questions which ran through the 25-year-old's mind during his nearly seven-month stint on the sidelines.

"I spoke to Boyd (Cordner) and Jared (Waerea-Hargreaves) that were in the same situation - it took them a couple of months to get their heads right," he said.

"I was probably available for round six but my mind just wasn't there."

While his teammates slogged it out in summer preparing for the 2017 season, Taukeiaho spent many lonely hours going through his rehabilitation program.

"That's one thing that was hard, coming in every day, doing all my rehab and just watching the boys train as a team," he said.

"And I kind of felt left behind, sitting on the side watching them train. It's something I missed."

Against the Knights, he said he felt his confidence returning and when asked if he could get back to his blockbusting best, he said: "One hundred per cent."

He made 135 metres in just 30 minutes on the field against Newcastle and now has a battle on his hands to wrest back the starting No.13 jersey from Aidan Guerra.

He admitted to some anxious moments as he prepared to take his first hit-up against the Knights.

"As I was sitting on the sideline, I didn't jump on in the first half, I was walking up and down the sidelines, I was pretty nervous," Taukeiaho said.

"I was looking at my knee, hoping I wouldn't go out there and do it again. After that first contact I was pretty sweet."

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