Sydney - Wycliff Palu is one of the Waratahs most crucial impact players, but wants to again be known as an 80-minute performer.
Due to the Test No 8's long run with serious knee,
shoulder and hamstring injuries, the Waratahs team management know they
have to use Palu wisely, which this season has seen him usually replaced
in the second half. However Palu argues that after setbacks his body is
at last starting to feel as if it can last a full match - even on a
Nonetheless it remains unlikely to see Palu play the full
game against the Force on Friday night, with Lopeti Timani again
scheduled to be his back-up.
There has been some criticism directed at the Waratahs
coaching staff for taking Palu off too early, but it has usually been
the case of his hamstring tightening up, and the fear that if he
continues playing he could risk injury. Palu believes that won't be a
concern for much longer.
''The body is feeling good, and I'm just trying to play as much as I can,'' Palu said on Monday.
''Compared to this time last year, I am miles ahead.''
Asked if he could be a 80-minute player this year, Palu
replied: ''Yeah, yeah definitely. It's just a slow process. This week
I'll probably get a bit more time on the field.''
This is in contrast to last season with Palu admitting
that training and playing had become a painful exercise - the most
infuriating moment being when he was the first casualty of Australia's
World Cup campaign, leaving the tournament early after damaging his
hamstring against the United States.
''Last year, I'd wake up in the morning, and the body wouldn't be feeling too good,'' Palu said.
''I didn't think I'd be able to get right back. But it's a
lot better now. Sometimes you did feel like you were beating your head
against the wall, but then you would see some results. I'm starting to
see that again, and I want to keep on going.''
Palu, who is contemplating lucrative offers from Japan,
is top of the list of players the Waratahs want to re-sign for next
On Monday he offered no clues where he would end up in 2013.
Waratahs coach Michael Foley has stated he will do all he can to
convince Palu to stay in Sydney.