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4 days ago
PJ Marsh says he never thought of quitting rugby league, despite a serious neck injury that sidelined him for the best part of two seasons.
Marsh returned to the training paddock with Parramatta on Monday, having come back to his former club after being released by the New Zealand Warriors in August.
He hasn't played since round 14 in 2003 after dislocating vertebrae - coincidentally against Parramatta - and has since gone under the knife twice to rectify the problem.
Despite predictions that his career would be over, the 24-year old Marsh said he never doubted he would return.
"It's what I do, I play football, and if there was a chance that I could play again I was going to take that," said the former Queensland State of Origin player.
"The doctors never said that I couldn't play football, it was more just media - but the doctor, from the very first meeting that I had with him, said there's no reason why I can't play again, so I took his advice and ran with that."
Marsh credited his wife with aiding his recovery and said he was determined to make it back.
"I definitely had some tough moments," Marsh said.
"Laying on my back for two months, not being able to move, that was a bit ordinary.
"My wife - quit her job to help me out around the house and was really supportive, but there was light at the end of the tunnel.
"I never had any doubts that I'd be back, it was just a matter of when."
Coach Brian Smith said he didn't think the signing of Marsh was a risk, despite his potentially precarious injury situation.
"We did all the things that need to be done as far as medical checks and PJ himself feels very confident," Smith said.
"It's important for him to have all those medical checks and he's got a tick in every box so far.
"Training over the next three months will certainly confirm that for him so that he goes into the season very confident in his physical status."
Marsh said he was unconcerned where he plays in the Eels' line-up, although Smith was likely to slot him into the troublesome halfback spot.
"If I play seven (halfback) I do, if I don't, I'll just play wherever I'm put," he said.