Navarro rel­ish­ing re­turn for Ra­zor­backs

Townsville Bulletin - - Bizfi Nd -

R E T U R N I N G R a z o r b a c k Jake Navarro reck­ons the strap­ping on his knee will be like a red rag to a bull to­day.

But the de­fi­ant striker in­vited the Sun­shine Coast to do their worst when he runs out for North Queens­land for the first time in 11 months in their round two State League clash at Ayr’s In­ter­na­tional Park.

Navarro was f orced t o un­dergo a knee re­con­struc­tion af­ter suf­fer­ing the in­jury in the most bit­ter­sweet of fash­ions just three games into the 2010 sea­son – in the process of scor­ing a stun­ning goal.

The end of the long, hard road back has been met by a mix of nerves and ex­cite­ment, but no fear of con­fronting the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons.

‘‘ The in­ten­sity’s up again and I’m ready to go . . . I’ll go hard this year,’’ Navarro said.

Navarro will be eased back in, play­ing just 45 min­utes for the next two games.

But the marks­man knows that doesn’t mean his op­po­nents will go any eas­ier on him.

‘‘ I’ll just have to keep movi ng, be­cause t hey’re big fel­las, they’ll try and put a knock on me, I bet, es­pe­cially if they see the strap­ping on my knee,’’ Navarro said. ‘‘ It’ll be fun. I en­joy be­ing tar­geted up front – it’ll be a lit­tle chal­lenge for me.’’

Af­ter in­jury ru­ined at least part of his past two sea­sons, Navarro first has his sights set on play­ing ev­ery game, while a goal-a-match av­er­age is also on his to-do list. He’d love noth­ing more than to start against the Fire, who are build­ing a strong ri­valry with the Pigs.

Ra z o r b a c k s c o a c h Ke n Mitchell said even play­ing just half a game, Navarro’s re­turn would be a sig­nif­i­cant boost.

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