Canterbury and New Zealand’s Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has opened up about the difficulty experienced during a turbulent 2019 campaign as he battles to be fit for post-season international fixtures.
In the wake of minor knee surgery at the conclusion of the Bulldogs’ season, and with a meeting scheduled Wednesday to determine whether his name will be considered for NZ selection, Watene-Zelezniak told foxsports.com.au about the mental struggles and his desire to rediscover the love he once had for playing rugby.
“I have a really good support network with my family…without them, I was ready to throw it in,” he said.
“I was over it. It was tough times. I wasn’t loving it and then I went to the Bulldogs and I realised why I loved the game.
“The fresh start for me was something I needed. It helped me a lot.”
At the heart of the aforementioned support network was his wife, who is credited with helping Watene-Zelezniak decide on the Bulldogs as his next home in the midst of offers from several clubs around the NRL.
“It opened my eyes a bit. I grew up in Penrith and have been there my whole life. It was scary at the start, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said.
Ahead of Test activity, however, he says nothing is certain as he fights to be declared fit for international action.
“They’re going to give me any chance they can to play. It’s whatever is best for my knee, though,” he said.
“Any time I get to put on a black jersey I will take it but I don’t want to be taking a spot when I am only 80 per cent.”