HIS exploits in a Blue jumper have earned him reputation as one of the toughest players in the NRL, but Dragons ironman Tyson Frizell says the physical toll of Origin football pales in comparison to the mental drain.
Frizell was one of the Blues best this season, despite carrying three separate rib cartilage tears and damaged ankle ligaments through what was ultimately an unsuccessful Origin campaign.
His willingness to put his body through hell won him plenty of plaudits, but the 25-year-old said overcoming the mental letdown of a series loss is a far bigger hurdle.
“At the end, you’re probably more mentally spent than anything,” Frizell said.
“You only get three opportunities and it is really all-consuming because there’s so much work and effort behind the scenes that go into three games.
“We had the opportunity there in game two to take the series and then it all pretty much flipped and fell in on us. To end up losing the series was really tough to take.
“As much as it hurts a lot of fans and a lot of people on the outside looking in… giving that series away was very tough for the players.
“It’s probably not what people see but we took it really hard because we were the ones to blame.
“It’s not easy being a part of that and it was little bit mentally tough at the end of the series but there’s a bigger picture for us now at club footy.”
“All I want to be doing in September is playing footy. I don’t even turn on the tele at all if we’re not a part of it."Tyson Frizell
Frizell missed just one game for his club through the Origin period –a golden-point loss to Canberra in round 19.
He said that spell, and a run of longer turnarounds, have left him feeling rejuvenated heading into the final four matches of the season.
“I had a couple of days to get away from footy after the last game and I can see an opportunity for us as a team and a club to put ourselves in a good position,” Frizell
“I definitely struggled a little bit through the middle of the year but, I had a week off after the Origin period that definitely helped the body along.
“It’s feeling the best it’s been in a little while now and hopefully that continues.”
The Dragons recent hiccups mean Frizell has jumped out of the Origin cauldron and into the NRL finals fire, but he said switching his focus to club football has not been difficult.
“Once Origin finished I had to refocus and worry about what needs to be done here at the Dragons,” Frizell said.
“You put in so much hard work with the boys here every day it’s not hard to refocus and put all your energy into club footy.
“We’ve lost an opportunity for us to be sitting in that top eight. We were there and now we’re not, so we’ve just made the job a little bit harder for ourselves.
“We’ve had a tough middle of the year, but we’re looking to put in good performances for the rest of the year and hopefully that takes care of finals. If it doesn’t, then we’ll have let ourselves down.
“All I want to be doing in September is playing footy. I don’t even turn on the tele at all if we’re not a part of it.
“We see ourselves in contention in this competition and that’s where we want to be at the end of the year.”