No. 10 Patrick Kaufusi (Easts player) kicks the ball. Easts v Sunshine Coast play Rugby League Intrust Super Cup QRL game of the day, at Easts Greenslopes, on Saturday March 31, 2018 (AAP Image/Steve Pohlner)
No. 10 Patrick Kaufusi (Easts player) kicks the ball. Easts v Sunshine Coast play Rugby League Intrust Super Cup QRL game of the day, at Easts Greenslopes, on Saturday March 31, 2018 (AAP Image/Steve Pohlner)

Major blow for Bundy’s Kaufusi

LEAGUE: Bundaberg's Patrick Kaufusi has ruptured his achilles tendon during a training drill, which will force him out of the start to the season for the Townsville Blackhawks.

A simple shuttle run drill proved the innocuous downfall for the former Cowboys forward, who had returned to Townsville in a bid to revive his NRL career.

But while the injury is expected to rule him out for five to six months, Kaufusi said he was still determined to make it back to the top level.

"It was pretty much our last set of our conditioning, I just went to turn off the line and heard a loud pop," he said.

"I was pretty shattered, I'm still coming to terms with it right now … (but) nothing has changed, I still want to give it a good crack to try and get there (to the NRL).

"Obviously this sets me back a bit more; I'm just focused on getting this right now, getting in front of my rehab and do my best to build it up."

Patrick Kaufusi of the Dragons is tackled by the Tigers defence during the Round 24 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Wests Tigers at the SCG in Sydney, Sunday, September 1, 2019. (AAP Image/Brendon Thorne) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Patrick Kaufusi of the Dragons is tackled by the Tigers defence during the Round 24 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Wests Tigers at the SCG in Sydney, Sunday, September 1, 2019. (AAP Image/Brendon Thorne) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Given he had only signed on with the club two weeks ago, Kaufusi had been slowly working up to full, physical training before the injury.

His addition to the squad added a wealth of experience and ability to the line up, having earned 31 NRL caps with the Cowboys, Melbourne Storm and St. George-Illawarra Dragons.

In spite of the injury, Blackhawks football operations manager Adrian Thomson said Kaufusi would still have an important role to play.

While he was confident the Townsville side had enough talent to cover the loss, Thomson said the 26-year-old's influence would still be important.

"We got Patty for his ability to play the game but also he's a good fella, he's experienced and still hungry to play NRL and I don't think that's changed," Thomson said.

"We won't have him on the field but we'll have him off it for our younger guys. We have every confidence in our younger guys … but with his leadership he'll still contribute heavily.

"He does everything right, we've got the right people - the medical staff are second to none - we'll get him back on park.

"Patty's a pro, he'll follow everything diligently and he's every chance of getting back this season."