"I'm relieved to be back" - Willie Tonga

Pirtek Parramatta Eels centre Willie Tonga says he's feeling relieved after playing his first game of football in months after a lengthy absence with injury.


Tonga re-joined the first grade side for the first time in 2013 last week against the Panthers following months of rehab.


"You always have that anxious feeling leading up to your first game back after a long lay-off, so I'm glad to have that game out of the way and looking forward to this weekend," he said.


"It is hard. There are a lot of times when you're on your own and by yourself, and you think you're going it alone."


"But in saying that, I've had a lot of support from the club and they've been really helpful. So I've got nothing but praise for everyone who's helped me get back."


Our trainers, including Head of Performance and Physical Preparation Trent Elkin, physiotherapist Vicki Locke and Strength and Conditioning Coach Ciriaco Mescia have spent many hours working with Willie for his return.


"They've been awesome. Our trainers and medical staff are up there with the best in the business, so hopefully now I can keep on playing good footy with the boys and hopefully get better."


Willie says attitude is the biggest hurdle for the team, which is something they got right against Penrith.


"I think leading up to last week when we lost to teams by higher margins, the attitude wasn't there. But last week was a positive turnaround and hopefully we can build on that."


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