It’s a tough start to life at a new club for Tom Opacic.
It’s a tough start to life at a new club for Tom Opacic.

Opacic starts on back foot at Cowboys

COWBOYS recruit Tom Opacic is determined to not get left behind in Townsville after undergoing groin surgery ahead of his move to North Queensland.

The former Broncos centre has battled a number of injuries over the last two years, with his terrible run starting at the end of his breakout 2016 season when he had two shoulder reconstructions.

He then battled ankle injuries last year before returning to first grade for 10 appearances with Brisbane in 2018.

However, Opacic started to struggle with osteitis pubis midway through the season and had to undergo surgery after playing in the Intrust Super Championship with Redcliffe in September.

"Mid-year I started struggling with the injury and it progressively got worse and worse," he revealed.

"The specialist said (surgery) would be the best way to fix it. I had the surgery a week after the national final. We're taking it slow but usually you can be 100 per cent in 12 weeks."

However, the off-season operation means Opacic is on the back foot at his new club, where he is pushing for a return as a regular first-grader.

The centre is desperate for gametime. (AAP/David Clark)
The centre is desperate for gametime. (AAP/David Clark)

He said in September he asked for a release from Brisbane shortly after signing a two-year deal with the Broncos because he saw more opportunities for himself at North Queensland.

Opacic said at the time he needed a fresh start but will have to wait to put his best foot forward until after the Christmas break.

"I was actually pretty disappointed (by the injury) because I knew I would be out for the first block of training up until Christmas," the 24-year-old said.

"There isn't much I can do.

"The boys are really ripping in so it's a bit hard for myself being off to the side in the rehab group. I'm just on the bike and the rower just trying to get my fitness up.

"The good thing is no one plays in November and I have until the first trial to really push to play.

"(NRL) is the goal … it's the main reason I came up here. I could have stayed in Brisbane for another two years and played QCup but I came up here."

The Cowboys released centre Kane Linnett after the 2018 season, while fullback Lachlan Coote has moved to England and winger Antonio Winterstein retired.

With so much movement in the backline, the door is certainly open for Opacic to claim a first grade spot but he will face tough competition from veteran back Justin O'Neill as well as young gun Enari Tuala.