Aaron Heremaia will give Hull FC new edge, says Gentle
PETER Gentle is looking forward to finally unleashing Aaron Heremaia on Super League this weekend – and he expects the hooker to bring a new dimension to Hull FC.
Heremaia is on course to make his league debut for Hull after a season spent on the sidelines with a neck injury.
Now back in full training, the Kiwi is desperate to play against Warrington on Sunday and Gentle is proud of how Heremaia has handled his lengthy injury absence.
"Aaron remains on song for the Warrington game. If he comes to me and says he'd like another week we'll give him that, but he's desperate to get on the field and he remains on course to play," Gentle told the Mail.
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"He's really impressed me. If anyone has the right to moan it's Aaron after what he's been through. He's come here to play footy and he's played just 10 minutes this year.
"I'm looking forward to seeing him play, just like the fans no doubt are. He will bring a different dimension to what we do around the ruck.
"He is one of the most positive people we have got in the squad and I cannot wait to see him run out on the field. I am proud of him and what he's been through off the field. A lesser person would have tossed it in and gone home a long time ago."
Signed from New Zealand Warriors, the 29-year-old hooker arrived in England on the back of an NRL Grand Final appearance and looking to make a big impact.
A neck injury sustained in the pre-season derby game initially ruled him out for the opening two months of the season, but further tests showed the full extent of an injury which at one time was feared to be career-threatening.
Following an operation and a long rehabilitation process, Heremaia is now finally in contention to make his first appearance in Super League.
With Danny Houghton missing, Heremaia's return is seen as even more vital to the Black and Whites as they bid for a first win in four games.
However, Gentle insists that won't come into his consideration and he will put the welfare of his player first.
"I'll take his word for it and when he says he's ready I'll trust him," he added.
"We are hopeful he'll play this weekend but I've told him that there is no pressure on him at all. If he wants to push it back a week then we'll do that, if he wants an extra two weeks then that's fine too. He has to come back when he feels he's ready to play again.
"But he's doing all the training, he's in here doing double sessions, he's in at weekends, and he's saying he'll be ready to go for the Warrington game.
"Aaron has worked his backside off. He's such a positive person and a positive influence to have around this club. Even through all of this, he's been great to have around."