KYLE Stanley is determined to fight back from a knee injury which ended his 2012 campaign last month.
Stanley underwent his third knee reconstruction — but the first on his right knee — after going down in the opening minutes of St George Illawarra’s clash against Cronulla in round 19.
‘‘It was heartbreaking,’’ said Stanley, 21. ‘‘I was hoping it wasn’t the worse case scenario. I think the second time was worse.
‘‘I knew what I had to go through but now I’m mentally stronger. I know what I’ve got to do to get stronger to be back next year.’’
It has been an interesting year for Stanley, who trained on an exercise bike for the first time last week, as he continues to find his feet in the top grade.
He had been earmarked to fill the vacant fullback position but after just three weeks was shifted into the centres. The injury came just as he had the chance to play his favoured five-eighth position with Jamie Soward being injured.
‘‘I was playing five-eighth, my preferred position, and I only got five minutes at it,’’ Stanley said.
‘‘I’ve been [playing different positions] for the past three years and I’ve got to do what works best for the team. I’ll get my chance soon and I’ll definitely take it.’’
Kyle does not need to look too far for motivation as he watches older brother Chase find form following his return from a knee reconstruction. Since working his way back through Illawarra Cutters, Chase has played the past nine games in the top grade.
‘‘We played five minutes together in the Charity Shield and then he got injured,’’ Kyle said. ‘‘Then we play together again and I’m injured.
‘‘Hopefully, in the near future, we start playing a couple of games together. His game has improved a lot and it’s a credit to him. Seeing the way he has bounced back is an inspiration.’’
Meantime, younger brother Jamie is starting to make his way in the under-20s competition.
Jamie has played four games for the Dragons mainly in the centres, having played in the under-18 SG Ball competition earlier this year.
‘‘It’s good to see him getting a go,’’ Kyle said. ‘‘Hopefully, next year he’ll be able to play full-time there.’’
BOLD AND BRAVE
It has not been all doom and gloom for Kyle Stanley who celebrated the birth of his first child, a son, Koah just weeks before his injury. The Hawaiian name — meaning bold and brave — was chosen by Stanley’s partner Niketa.
‘‘It’s a life changing experience,’’ Stanley said. ‘‘He is an angel and it’s such a great feeling being a dad.’’
Stanley joins older brother Chase in fatherhood, with Chase having two boys.
‘‘We can definitely breed boys,’’ Kyle said.