FLOWING FREELY: Gerico Cecil can hardly wait for the chance to play footy again after successful heart surgery, with just a nasty scar remaining.
FLOWING FREELY: Gerico Cecil can hardly wait for the chance to play footy again after successful heart surgery, with just a nasty scar remaining. Kate Czerny

Healthy heart has Cecil pumped to play again

WHEN Gerico Cecil was placed under general anaesthetic last week to have his sternum cut open and his heart operated on, he was understandably nervous.

Having never been under the knife all he was

hoping was that he would wake up okay.

Now that he has, Cecil has not taken long to turn his thoughts to the 2016 rugby league season.

Cecil broke into the Jets team at the start of this year's season.

But it was soon apparent he could not continue, with the worsening leaky valve in his heart the reason.

Last week he had the long awaited operation to replace it.

"It was pretty nerve racking," Cecil said.

"It was my first operation ever."

Cecil was informed the operation was a complete success and he should be able to eventually resume full activities.

That means a resumption of his promising rugby league career. He is not going to immediately return to where he left off however.

At the moment he is going for a daily walk, increasing the distance each time, so footy remains a long way off. It will be three to four months before he can attempt the rigours of rugby league.

But once he can Cecil is planning a return to the Ipswich Rugby League with Norths before considering a return to the Jets.

"One of the reasons I got the valve replaced was to play footy again," the 21-year-old teacher's aide said. "After my recovery I'll definitely get back out there at Norths."

It is good news for the Tigers, for whom Cecil starred in their 2014 premiership triumph.

He is determined to get back to the Jets however, with his motivation heightened by what the team achieved this year.

While the Jets have spaces to fill following the departure of seven players who have moved up to the NRL or retired, neither Cecil nor the Jets are in any rush for him to return.

The powerful forward has age on his side, with Jets props Billy McConnachie (25) and Rod Griffin (28) proving you can still make it beyond your early 20s.

"They worked hard all season improving, especially Billy," Cecil said.

"Rod was always there and going to make it.

"I just can't wait to get back out there.

"That's where I want to be. I want to be regarded as a Queensland Cup player next season. I've proved myself already but I wasn't able to show my best. Once I'm fully recovered I'm looking forward to showing people what I can do better for longer."

Cecil watched on as the Jets went on their winning run to claim the Queensland Cup and State Championship titles, wishing he could have been part of it.

"I was happy for them. All the time, since I stopped playing, I kept thinking 'I wish I was there, I wish I was there'," he said.



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