Marist halfback Cleve Barrell is back in action after rehabilitating a broken leg in last year’s Nelson final. Photo: Evan Barnes/Shuttersport .

Cleve gears up for big return

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After suffering a horrific injury in the 2019 sub-union final, Marist halfback Cleve Barrell has returned to rugby.

Cleve broke his leg and dislocated his ankle playing against Waimea Old Boys in the final game of last season.

What followed was three months off work and almost six months of no running. However, the 23-year-old has recovered and is rearing to go as he is set to resume playing on Saturday.

“It was a bit of a tough time, but I managed to find some positives.”

The 2019 competition’s top tryscorer says, though it was a bit frustrating to be immobile for so long and then have the season postponed after just one round, it’s good to be back.

During lockdown he was able to work hard on both his fitness and passing, which he feels is sharper than ever.

“The main thing is consistency with my passes and trying to play for 80 minutes instead of 60.”

Cleve says he wants to start this season the way he ended last season, as he led the try scoring charts with 12.

“That was just a bit of a cherry. I love scoring tries, I just try to be there when someone makes a break.”

His form would no doubt have had him in the frame for a possible Mako selection prior to his injury.

“At the back of my mind if it happens it happens, I just want to play quality rugby.”

He is confident his side can emulate its success of last season.

“We have got a good squad with a lot of young players coming in and others back from injury.”