Halifax’s fit-again prop Tony Tonks says he is “hungry” for action again as the clock ticks down to Thursday night’s Championship opener against Sheffield.
Tonks, the former Featherstone enforcer, endured an injury-wrecked 2012 season, suffering two broken arms.
But after making an impressively aggressive return to action in last week’s 18-18 pre-season stalemate at Batley - which included some explosive exchanges with the Bulldogs’ former Eagles prop Alex Rowe - the player is firmly focused on Mark Aston’s Grand Final winners.
“Sheffield have got a strong pack and I know they’ve got players who will come looking for me and I know I’ll be looking for them,” said Tonks.
“That’s what I want now, someone to come and test me.
“I need the challenge of playing in those difficult games against the good sides.
“I loved it at Batley; there were no ill effects with my arm, I felt as strong as anything.
“I’ve kept up with the rehab and really pushed myself, training in my spare time in the gym before and after work and getting my head right.
“It was good to let go a bit and start knocking a few people about.
“I was happy with the way I went about it but there is a lot of improvement to be made too.”
Tonks confirmed his comeback had gathered pace in the last 10 days, with plans for a competitive return in the round two fixture at Workington on February 10 being brought forward.
“Two or three weeks ago, I was looking at the Workington game and that’s where I felt I was at that time,” said Tonks.
“But I had seven days with the squad and that really kicked me on to play against Batley and, hopefully, against Sheffield too.
“I feel mentally strong, and that comes from the support of the people at the club and all the supporters who sent me messages.
“That helped me look forward rather than thinking about the situation I was in last year.
“2012 wasn’t my year and I don’t want many more like that.
“I’m determined this year is going to be a good one and a stepping stone to some more good years beyond that.”