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Minichiello sessions keep Brimson on track for round one

AJ Brimson says sessions with club legend Mark Minichiello to strengthen his core have given him hope he can recover from a back injury and face the Raiders in round one.

Props Shannon Boyd (shoulder) and Moeaki Fotuaika (knee) are both in doubt for round one but also remain confident they can recover in time.

The Gold Coast fullback injured his back in the NRL Nines and has not played since. He says the club's appointment of Minichiello, who played 173 games for the Titans, has fast-tracked his recovery.

"Mark Minichiello has joined us in a nutrition/injury prevention type of role and he really knows his stuff," Brimson told NRL.com.

"I've been working with him on some core exercises I can do to strengthen my back.

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"He's made some really good points about nutrition, hydration and sleep that he believes are important if you are to stay fit and healthy and he is just trying to work with my inner core to take the load off my back.

"He played until he was 38 so he knows what he is talking about.

"I just have some swelling and bone bruising on the lower back. While it was a bit stiff and sore after the Nines, I'm doing light skills and hopefully I'll be right for next Friday night. It is coming along well and I remain confident."

Mark Minichiello playing for the Titans in 2013.
Mark Minichiello playing for the Titans in 2013. ©NRL Photos

Fotuaika had wrist and knee surgery in the off-season but the 20-year-old's toughness to play most of 2019 with injury has him steeled to play round one.

Fotuaika said his wrist was fine now and that all his rehab was now focused on his knee.

"Last year I broke the scaphoid bone in my wrist in round seven and tore the meniscus in my knee in round ten but I kept playing with it," Fotuaika told NRL.com

"They monitored it during the year but told me I needed surgery at the end of the season just for the sake of my future.

"I've been doing weights the last couple of weeks and the wrist is coming along good with no pain at all but it is more about my knee which keeps swelling up.

"I'm building up into full contact and I am confident I can get there for round one."

Boyd had a shoulder operation last year and only played 13 games. He aggravated the injury in the Titans trial against Burleigh but has next Friday night's game against his former club circled on his calendar.  

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"I got a little bit of a niggle in that trial against Burleigh but I am starting to get my range and strength back and it should be right to go," Boyd told NRL.com.

"Hopefully I should get into some contact early next week and be right to go in round one against Canberra.

"I'd love to go back there to Canberra and play against all the boys and have a bit of fun getting stuck into each other. Fingers crossed I will be there.

"I felt good in that Burleigh trial and had a lot of energy. It was probably the best I have felt in any game in a long time so hopefully I can have a good year."