New Zealand Warriors middle Jazz Tevaga is set to return to the rugby league field this weekend after a complicated rehab sidelined the utility for over eight months.
Tevaga was forced from the field in Round 20 last year with a shoulder complaint, not only ending his 2022 season but dragging into the summer as complications arose.
Initially, due to be fit by the start of the pre-season, a hernia operation halted Tevaga's recovery, dragging throughout the off-season and forcing the lock forward to miss the pre-season challenge as well as the opening round.
While the NRL outfit faces the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium, Tevaga has been named to make his long-awaited return to the field for the Warriors' NSW Cup side, starting at lock in the contest.
He'll be joined in reserve grade by fellow NRL stars Viliami Vailea, Freddy Lussick and Ronald Volkman as the quartet seek a berth in the first-grade side.
Despite being a mainstay in the NRL side with over 100 games for the Warriors, it's unsure where Tevaga would fit back in the first-grade outfit after some heavy recruiting.
Tohu Harris won't budge from the lock spot all season while Dylan Walker is the new bench utility, the role formerly occupied by Jazz.
They've got a fresh back-row in Marata Niukore and Jackson Ford while the likes of Mitch Barnett and Addin Fonua-Blake start up front, leaving genuinely talented stars like Josh Curran to come off the pine with Walker.
Tevaga will run out at 12:40 pm AEDT Saturday as he readies himself for return and a potential audition for a call-up to the NRL.