North Queenslander Corey Jensen says a refreshing break in his home town and a thirst for on-field action is fuelling his return to the field for the Toyota Cowboys’ Round 19 match against South Sydney in Cairns.
Bowen product Jensen, 23, will line up on the interchange bench for his sixth National Rugby League game on Sunday following some impressive cameos in his debut year.
He lined up to play the Raiders last start, but the forward rotation saw him denied any game time, making the young forward keener than ever to rip in versus the Rabbitohs.
He's even more prepared to roll the sleeves up further given that forward teammates Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess will be returning from State of Origin duty.
“We’re back into training now so it’s time to start ripping in again,” said Jensen. “It was a nice break away from footy, so now we’re all recharged and ready to go.
“It’s always our priority to step up and be a bit more of a leader for those (returning Origin) guys, who will be sore coming out of a tough game on Wednesday night.
"And while they’re professional and will be back strong, us remaining forwards just have to be ready to step up when called upon.”
Jensen has been a solid performer for head coach Paul Green off the bench this year, and with the season-ending bicep injury to fellow interchange middle forward Ben Spina, that No.17 spot in the rotation looks his to lose for the remainder of the season.
The former Cowboys under-20s tyro and Townsville Blackhawks hard man, however, is expected to get some stiff competition for his spot in coming weeks from Rockhampton product Sam Hoare, who is close to returning to the field following six weeks out with a broken hand.
And he's looking forward to coming up against who he described as “some of the benchmark forwards in the comp”, in terms of the Rabbitohs’ English siblings, Sam and George Burgess.
“We played against those big humans in the Nines early in the year, and while that was a different style of game, I remember how tough they were to handle, but I’m relishing that challenge again for sure," Jensen said.
Sunday’s game at Barlow Park kicks off at 4pm.