The dynamic centre, who served a multi-year ban for testing positive for exogenous Testosterone and its metabolites in 2019, has been eagerly awaiting this moment. His journey back is nothing short of a triumph over adversity.
During his time away from the game, Xerri battled the consequences of the ban, but he also grappled with depression.
The Canterbury Bulldogs extended a lifeline to the talented player, offering him a spot in their top 30 for the 2024 season and securing his return with a two-year contract.
In a recent interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Xerri shared his nerves upon walking back into the rugby league arena, emphasising the warm welcome he received from both teammates and staff. His first workout as a Bulldog marked a poignant moment, as he expressed his eagerness to be back on the field and among his fellow players.
Beyond the physical challenges, Xerri dedicated his time away to honing his skills, particularly focusing on improving his sprint technique. Now, he is determined to translate hard work into on-field success, vying for a starting spot in the opening round teamlist.
Coach Cameron Ciraldo finds himself with a selection conundrum with the array of player options in the position. Xerri, a specialist centre, aims to form a formidable partnership, either alongside seasoned NSW and Australian representative Josh Addo-Carr or the promising Bulldogs junior and Lebanon representative, Jacob Kiraz.
“I've been training hard for this, and honestly, that [training run] was tough,” said Xerri.
“But as hard as it was, I enjoyed every minute of it, and I'm just keen to keep ripping in with the boys.”
His resilience, dedication, and eagerness to contribute on the field suggest that Xerri's comeback could be one of the compelling narratives that define the upcoming NRL season. As he steps back into the limelight, it's not just a return to the game; it's a triumph of the human spirit.