By Dylan Morris, North Queensland Correspondent, NRL.com
North Queensland flyer Antonio Winterstein is a welcome addition to the injury-hit line-up the Toyota Cowboys will field on Saturday night against the Newcastle Knights.
The premiership winger is looking forward to getting some game time under his belt after sustaining two injuries in 2017 alone.
"Pretty tough there watching from the sidelines, so looking forward to this weekend to get out there and do my job as best I can," Winterstein said.
"It has been hard but I can take some positives out there, I can work on my lower body and my fitness. I could still run so that was pretty good, I just had to keep positive."
Winterstein's wait was made easier by the strong support he received from his family and the club, which helped keep his injury in perspective.
"I've got a good support group at the club and at home with my wife. They keep me grounded and keep me motivated to get back on the field," he said.
"I just want to get out there and contribute wherever I can and hopefully put in a good performance."
With two weeks until the representative round when Winterstein will be eligible to play for Samoa, the pressure to prove himself fit to play is mounting.
"We'll see how these next few games go but at the end of the day it comes down to the coaching staff… and if I'm fit to play I'll play," Winterstein said.
"I've got two games there so hopefully I can put in a good performance in these two games, but I'm not really worried about that kind of stuff, I'm just worried about playing consistent footy for the Cows."
Winterstein is aware that his spot is not guaranteed, and is happy to have the extra motivation to play well to stay in the team.
"There's some talent coming through, it's good for the club, it's healthy and it really pushed the team to perform… because your spot is not guaranteed," he said.
First published on NRL.com.