Raiders return going to plan for White
Raiders forward Brett White after a hard training session in December. Photo: Colleen Petch
Canberra Raiders prop Brett White is on track to fulfil his new year's resolution - making up for lost time and returning for the start of the season.
Having had most of last year wiped out with a knee reconstruction, the representative front-rower had the added setback of tearing his hamstring in pre-season.
But after training through the Christmas break, White said he was aiming to feature in the Raiders' final trial game against the Bulldogs in Goulburn on February 23.
The 30-year-old also believes his enforced break on the sidelines could lengthen his career as he looks to play on beyond his current contract, which expires at the end of this season.
White's main focus is completing the remainder of his rehabilitation, and recapturing the form which made him one of the competition's premier front-rowers.
"As long as there's no problems we're looking at the final trial,'' White said. "The physio [Ed Hollis] said I need to do at least four weeks of full training without any complaints before he gives the go ahead for that.
"I will try and get back to full training as soon as possible and get those four weeks out of the way.''
White endured a forgettable 2012 season, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the round five loss to the North Queensland Cowboys on April 2, ruling him out for the rest of the year.
Then, just as he was about to resume full training, he twinged his hamstring in his first running session of the pre-season.
After suffering pain on and off for a month, scans revealed a slight tear.
White has all but recovered from the hamstring complaint and hopes the delay in coming back will be a plus, giving him an extra month or two to build up strength and confidence in his knee.
''I'm not coming back too early and putting more risk there, which I think is a positive,'' he said.
''I will be about 10 or 11 months from when I had the operation to when I play again, and they say that nine months is usually the mark.
''It's given the knee a bit of extra time, which is going to be good for it.''
While his teammates were putting their feet up over the festive period, White has kept himself active to ensure he hits the ground running when training resumes.
As one of the Raiders' vice-captains, alongside fellow prop David Shillington, White's leadership and experience is vital to the Green Machine.
His immediate goal is recapturing the form which earned him NSW and Kangaroos jerseys.
Doing that will go a long way to earning a contract extension with the Raiders as he looks to extend his career beyond this year.
''As far as the mental side of footy is, I could keep going without doubt,'' he said. ''I'm not too worried about the future past this season, it'll take care of itself.
''The most important thing is I get back to my best once I start playing footy.''
The Cooma junior played his first six seasons with the Melbourne Storm - winning grand finals in 2007 and 2009 - before joining the Raiders on a three-year deal at the end of 2010.