I've got all the ticks I need to be back playing
Reds and Wallabies scrumhalf Will Genia will captain the Reds in his highly-anticipated return against the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium this weekend.
Genia has been cleared by medical staff and will now put six-months of rehabilitation from ACL surgery behind him when he takes the field for the first time since suffering his injury in Australia's 26-19 victory over South Africa in Perth on September 8.
The return of the talented scrumhalf comes at a timely point in the Reds' Super Rugby campaign with the team aiming to build on three straight Super Rugby wins with back-to-back matches at Suncorp Stadium coming up - against the Force on Saturday and the Bulls on March 23.
"I've got all the ticks I need to be back playing and now I'm just really looking forward to it. I know I've done the hard work in terms of getting my body right," Genia said.
"I've been fortunate in a sense that the time off has given me an opportunity to have a preseason. The rehab has been a lot harder than any other preseason I've been involved in mentally and physically.
"There is a lot of training you need to do to get fit and strong and fast again. Mentally, it's also tough training on your own. You've got to be able to motivate yourself, especially when you see the group training beside you.
"It has been tough but I think I've come out of it pretty well. I'm just going to go out there and do the best job I can and keep it as simple as I can too," he added.
Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie praised Genia's commitment during the rehabilitation stages.
"Will is an extremely competitive type of guy and you have to admire the dedication and drive he showed during his rehab to ensure he could get back out onto the field as soon as possible," McKenzie said.
"Will is not only a great player, but he is also a very good leader who demands excellence from himself and others. This attitude rubs off on everyone and you can already sense a lift in intensity from our group.
McKenzie also credited prop James Slipper for the role he played as captain during the opening month of the season.
"James has grown as a player and person since being given the role and credit must go to how he has taken control of the team during the opening four rounds of the competition," he said.
"He has learned a lot from the experience and will continue to be a senior member and leader in our squad."
Genia has been a real ironman for the Reds and in 2012 played in every minute of all 17 Super Rugby matches, while he also finished the season as the team's captain following a hamstring injury to James Horwill.
The 75 caps Genia has earned ranks him third in the current squad of most games played for the Reds and he is also on track to join the prestigious 100 Cap Club of Queensland Rugby after re-signing with the province for a further three seasons midway through 2012.
On the international stage, Genia also stepped up into the Wallabies captaincy last year during the June Test window and in the early stages of the Rugby Championship before a serious knee injury forced the talented playmaker to go under the knife.