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Idris short of gallop before NRL return

NZN 2/03/2017 Steve Zemek

West Tigers warn Jamal Idris is making his NRL return underdone and not to expect too much of their star recruit too soon.

For the first time in 693 days, the 26-year-old will set foot on an NRL field in his club debut for the Tigers against South Sydney on Friday.

After taking a hiatus from the game to address personal issues and travel the world, the former NSW and Australian representative joined the Tigers for pre-season training in late 2016.

While he dropped 11kg over the summer and began working out a month before he joined the Tigers squad, coach Jason Taylor warned his fitness wasn't up to scratch and it would take time for him to work his way back to full flight.

"Jamal's done a great job, he's been really energetic around the place, he's happy to be here and we're looking forward to him hitting his straps," Taylor said.

"I think it's fair to say that Jamal isn't right now at a level of fitness that is perfect. We've got some work to do.

"We're ready to start the season, he's ready to start the season. You'll see Jamal hit his straps a few rounds in, I'd imagine."

The 195cm, 115kg Idris has at times struggled with his weight during his previous stints at Canterbury, Gold Coast and Penrith.

There's no doubt he will line up against the Rabbitohs but is expected to be short of a gallop during the first month.

Taylor blamed his time off, following his exit from Penrith, and a knee reconstruction for his lack of conditioning.

He said Idris shaped as a potential X-factor and would lend them size and strength in the three-quarter line, something they've lacked during the past several years.

"Our physical performance unit has done really well to get him to the point that he's ready to go for round one," Taylor said.

"They've done a massive job. We're really excited about where he can get to throughout the course of the season.

"All I'm saying is don't expect too much in round one."

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