‘It sucks’: Titans star gutted by delayed start to 2018
RUGBY LEAGUE: Jarrod Wallace won't curb his aggressive ways in 2018 despite the Titans prop admitting that it "sucks" that he will miss the first two games of the NRL premiership season due to suspension.
A Queensland Origin debutant in 2017, Wallace received a three-game ban for a shoulder charge on Bulldogs half Moses Mbye in Round 25 last season which means he will be unavailable to play the Raiders and Warriors in the first two games of the season.
Wallace was only able to make his debut for the Maroons in Game Two after being cleared by the judiciary of a shoulder charge stemming from the Round 14 clash with the Warriors but says he has to be smarter rather than softer.
With Ryan James set for a move to the back row Wallace will be the most seasoned front-row enforcer on the Gold Coast roster this year and says that he can't shirk the responsibilities that come with that.
"I've never been the most aggressive person on the field but last year I wanted to try and bring that into my game," Wallace said.
"Obviously playing bigger minutes I didn't want to go into a shell and just tackle and run.
"I still wanted to make sure those minutes were quality and try and bring a little bit of aggression because obviously that's our game.
"It's an aggressive game, it's the most aggressive game in the world so if I can try and keep that up and be smart with it, make sure I'm doing the right things.
"I'm not going to lie, it does suck, knowing that the boys are going to be out there for two games and I'm not going to be there.
"I try and pride myself on not missing any games. I missed two or three last year which I was a bit upset about but that's footy."
Booked in for groin and shoulder surgeries in the off-season, Wallace suffered another blow when he went over on his ankle in mid-December that necessitated another visit with the surgeon, further delaying his 2018 preparations.
"It's been a very frustrating pre-season for me," Wallace admitted.
"Coming back from my groin and shoulder surgeries and everything coming good and then just went over on my ankle and had to get surgery on that.
"The coaching staff have done a really good job and I reckon I'm probably a bit ahead of schedule maybe by a week.
"I've done pretty much a full week now with no pain or anything and recovering really well so full credit to them.
"Those three surgeries kind of set me back so I'm just trying to get the same fitness I had last year, the same weight, just making sure that my head's switched on."