New Hull skipper Carlos Tuimavave believes there is a new lease of life at the club under Tony Smith as the centre provides the latest on his recovery.
Tuimavave, 31, was appointed the club’s new skipper earlier this year by new boss Smith ahead of the 2023 campaign.
The centre ruptured his Achilles tendon last June against Catalans and has been sidelined ever since.
Nearly eight months on, Tuimavave insists he’s nearing to full fitness and pushing for the opening round, where Hull will face Castleford at home.
Carlos Tuimavave provides injury update
“Pre-season has been a bit different for me,” he told Love Rugby League. “I’ve been pretty much with the rehab group for most part of pre-season.
“But the last couple of weeks, I’ve joined the team and it’s good to be amongst the boys again.
“I can’t wait to get back playing. This injury has made me appreciate my job a little more. I can’t wait to get back doing what I love doing.
“I’m doing all I can to get myself ready for round one, or it could be round two. I’m doing everything possible and so far, so good.”
New lease of life at Hull
The experienced Smith, 56, was appointed the club’s new head coach in September following the sacking of Brett Hodgson.
The club last lifted silverware back in 2017, defeating Wigan in the Challenge Cup final. Several disappointing seasons have seen them fail to cement a spot in the play-offs in the last two years, despite being one of the big spenders of Super League.
Smith has amassed over 500 career games as a head coach including stints at Huddersfield, Leeds, Warrington and England. And Tuimavave says the team are feeling the benefits of having the new man in charge.
“I think Tony’s experience speaks for itself,” Tuimavave said.
“What he’s done in the last four months has been amazing. You can just see the difference in the team already compared to the last two seasons. In saying that, we need to do our talking on the field and time will tell.
“Tony likes to play entertaining rugby. The boys are excited to showcase what we’ve been doing throughout the pre-season onto the pitch this year.
“Not just our attack, but our defence. We’re learning a new system and I’d like to think that it will come off quite impressive as well.”
Tuimavave also believes Smith has injected new confidence into the team ahead of the 2023 campaign.
“We should be up there competing with the top four”
He continued: “Tony has got to know everyone on a personal level. He’s given time to every individual within the squad. I think just last year, we lacked a lot of confidence and Tony has given everyone that confidence again.
“I think everybody just wants to play for him at the moment and hopefully that can continue into the season.
“We should be up there competing with the top four teams and unfortunately the last few years haven’t gone to plan.
“I think Tony’s experience is something we’ve been yelling out for as a team and I think it will benefit us not only as a playing group but as a club.”