SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak of the Bulldogs looks on before during the round 23 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Bankwest Stadium on August 22, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. overrated anyway plus every time he got tackled he has to get up pushing and shoving the opposition. Was he ever really gonna quit just like he’s mate Israel Folau the money is too good

  2. Penrith have an excellent fullback coming through in Charlie Staines.
    They have Edwards, who’s good when he’s confident & Aekins.
    Staines may never get a chance, if Zelezniak stayed & had to play fullback. He should get a chance I first grade now.
    Zelezniak said it wasn’t about having to play fullback? Yet the Bulldogs moved Meaney out of fullback & he’d played well there. To put Zelezniak at fullback.

  3. I think Staines has shown enough already as Jersey Flegg player of the year & in games in the Canterbury Cup, Veljam.. To say that he’ll be a better player & fullback than DWZ. He’s also faster than DWZ.
    So I hope that they manage to keep him at Penrith.

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