Felise Kaufusi was grinning after the Storm’s win over the Knights on Friday night – but it could have been simply because he completed the game.
The Storm second-rower has worked his way back from a hamstring injury over the past four weeks, and after making a return against the Sharks a fortnight ago, he scored a try and played 80 minutes in his side’s 40-14 win.
Kaufusi, who is tipped to make his State of Origin debut for Queensland this year, featured in 26 games for the Storm and two Tests for Australia last year, so the injury took him by surprise.
“It was a bit of a shock,” he said.
“Last year I played every game and was fighting fit each week. It was a bit different for me, something to take on board and maybe work harder to get back out there.
“[The injury] is hard. You take the good with the bad. That’s some of the bad stuff that happens.”
The Storm played fluently against the Knights, scoring seven tries to three, but were most pleased with their discipline with the ball.
“I think it was a big step forward just holding onto the ball, completing for 80-plus percent for the game, and finally score some tries and put some points on the board,” Kaufusi said.
“If we can do that again this week, it will be good.”
One incident did take a shine off the Storm’s performance after Billy Slater appeared to hit the deck a little easily that led to a Knights player getting sin-binned.
League greats Brad Fittler and Peter Sterling called the fullback’s diving antics “embarrassing” but Kaufusi thought there was nothing untoward.
“I’m sure Billy doesn’t expect or do that on purpose,” he said.
“Given the circumstances of the game, it might have looked worse than it is. Billy’s a great player and has the best interests in the game.”
The Storm travel on Thursday to play the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night and Kaufusi is looking forward to another blockbuster clash.
“They’re a tough side and have some good players all over the field – (Anthony) Milford, (Darius) Boyd – and they had a good win on the weekend,” he said
“There’s a couple of Queenslanders in there and a couple of Queenslanders in our team. It’s always good to get one over each other and just for bragging rights I suppose. They’ve always pretty good games.”