Parramatta forward Manu Ma'u has had some injury troubles over the past 12 months, but is finally ready to steak his claim for a new contract at the Eels.
Ma'u returned for his first game in eight months last Sunday against the Knights, but was unable to see out the contest after being forced to leave the field for a head injury assessment in the final stages.
The 30-year-old is out of contract at season's end and wants to sign a new deal, but was worried injuries could derail his chance to show the Eels why he needed to stick around.
While speaking to The Australian, Ma'u outlined just how important his next run of football can be, given his next contract could be his final long-term deal.
“I have to get some good footy under my belt and my manager will sort [my contract] out. I want to stay but it is up to the club and how I perform if they really want me to stay," Ma'u said.
“I just have to play good footy. I feel wanted here. I am just worried about injuries. In the back of my mind, I think that is what they are thinking.
“If they want me to stay, I will stay. If they want to see me go, I will look for other options. I will do what I have to do.”
Ma'u has been involved in his fair share of off-field incidents, even being sent to jail for a 2007 brawl.
Ma'u has straightened himself up, and has some words of advice for the NRL's youth after a troublesome off-season.
“It is not smart,” Ma'u said.
“For myself, I have probably done worse than them but I have learnt off it.
“I don’t know what is going on but I just hope the boys who did get into trouble can bounce back and get on the straight and narrow, just pull their heads in and cut their shit out.
“I have three kids and they are like little sponges, they pick up everything. Whatever I do, I just try to show them the right way.”