Home return for Todd

Otago Whalers halfback Cameron Todd passes the ball at the Oval yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR...
Otago Whalers halfback Cameron Todd passes the ball at the Oval yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Cameron Todd ran into an unwanted benefit of his studies last year.

A fourth-year physiotherapy student, the Otago Whalers playmaker knows how to rehabilitate from injury better than most.

So when he broke his leg, he did not need to look far for a treatment plan.

A clean break of his fibula in an early-season league game sidelined Todd for the entire season last year.

‘‘It made it worse knowing that it’s going to heal back to 90% of its original strength,’’ the 21-year-old said.

‘‘But knowing I could control my rehab, I guess, I didn’t have to go and see a physio. I could do it myself at home and at the park with flatmates.’’

It was a blow for the talented youngster, having been named the Whalers’ most valuable player the year before.

However, facilitating his own recovery left him confident of preventing a re-injury.

He returned to the touch field last summer and played for Otago at the national championships.

A return to league followed and last week he made his return to the Whalers line-up in the team’s 28-18 loss to Southland in Invercargill.

Today, he will make his home return when he lines up in the halves against West Coast at Peter Johnstone Park.

The leg was not quite back to normal, although he said that would come with time.

‘‘There’s still residual pain.

‘‘In March at our touch nationals it was really sore towards the end of each game. I was taking pain-killers and doing heaps of rehab to try to strengthen my muscles.

‘‘Even now, there’s no pain, but I can tell doing sprint drills I’m not as fast and agile as I used to be. But it’ll come back. It’ll take another season, I think, for it to come back.’’

It will be one of his last games in Otago colours.

The 21-year-old will head back north next year to take a physiotherapy job in Auckland.

It will take him closer to his Hamilton home, where he grew up playing league and touch.

Having played for New Zealand age-grade touch teams, as well as achieved a handful of league accolades including playing for New Zealand Universities, he has carved out an impressive CV since then.

He hoped to continue that in Auckland, although that would depend on work requirements.

For now he was focused on beating the West Coast in what is a must-win game for the Whalers.

‘‘They’re a pretty good team.

‘‘Usually we have really close games against them. I watched their game against Canterbury on Sunday; they lost by about 70 points.

‘‘But the whole game they kept running hard, tackling hard, chasing down tries that were always going to be tries. They’re going to keep coming at us.

‘‘If we can weather that storm that might pay off towards the back end of the game. But the first 60 it’s going to be a massive grind.

‘‘If we can get into that grind and stick in there, fingers crossed we can get the result.’’

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