Star Bronco Kotoni Staggs has lifted the lid on his shock shoulder diagnosis, claiming he spent the latter stages of the 2022 season playing with a torn labrum.

Staggs, 24, went under the knife earlier this off-season to correct the tear, yet had been playing through pain since making his Origin debut in early June.

“I tore my labrum in Origin 1, I didn't know much about it, I didn't get scans until after the season and the scans showed that it was torn,” Staggs told Broncos Media.

“I had to go in and get surgery and get it fixed up, it was good to get it done in the off-season so I could be right for this year."

While able to bite the bit and help Brisbane attempt to earn a place in the eight, the New South Welshman revealed that he was out of his comfort zone across the back half of last season.

“It was sore after I did it, I just didn't want to let my teammates down. I knew we were having a good season and winning some games, we were a good chance for finals so I didn't want to get surgery midway through the season and miss the end of the year and let the boys down," Staggs added.

Staggs also claimed his recent operation held hidden benefits, stating that he was ready to attack 2023 with a healthy mind in a healthy body.

“The body is feeling really good at that moment, I've come back and had the physio looking after me and they've done a great job,” the representative centre expressed.

“The surgery takes my mind off something I was worrying about last year, I can focus on myself now and not the niggles in my shoulder.

NRL Rd 15 - Broncos v Dragons
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 21: Kotoni Staggs of the Broncos looks on during the round 15 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on August 21, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

“I can focus on the way I am playing and also prepping my body and getting all the recovery I should be getting.

“I'm on track to play in the trial matches this year and I should be right for Round 1. It's gotten a lot better over the time.”

Though still stuck on non-contact duty at Red Hill, the blossoming Bronco international had a date in mind for when the shackles would come off.

“I'm gradually getting better each week, hopefully it comes off soon, the shoulder is feeling good. I've had a lot of people supporting me right throughout the process, the best physios and best people looking after me," Staggs said.

“It's been a long couple of weeks and months, it all comes down to getting myself right physically and mentally for the season.”

Staggs and the rest of Kevin Walters' side face a stern test to commence their latest campaign, drawn to face reigning premiers Penrith in Round 1.

Should Staggs maintain form, avoid injury and feature in each of the Broncos' regular season fixtures, the moustachioed back would earn a chance to play his 100th first-grade game in September.