Reds outside back Jock Campbell is hungry to return for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season after a 'frustrating' injury spell as competition in the squad grows
Campbell has been sidelined with a groin injury, which hampered him throughout the back-end of Super Rugby AU and Trans-Tasman.
It came at a horrible time for the 26-year-old's Wallaby ambitions, with Brumbies and Wallabies fullback Tom Banks picking up a hand injury that will sideline him for the rest of the year.
However, Campbell is refusing to dwell on what could've been as he returns to full training, taking advantage of the extended pre-season ahead of the inaugural Pacific season.
“It’s my first proper injury I’d say and just the nature of it was frustrating because I could do a lot but it was more just load so the more I did, the worst it’d get,” he told media on Thursday.
“Having to rest, it’s been a bit of blessing that we’ve had a longer break and pre-season, that’ll only benefit me in trying to get back.
“It’s feeling good now so hopefully it’s full training from here until Christmas and then beyond.
"(Banks injury) crossed my mind but I can’t really control that. If I’d dwelled on that, it’d affect my mood so you just have to move on… (Wallabies selection) is the goal but it’s out of my control so I need to do what I can control and try to get back fit and play some good footy."
Campbell will be looking to cement his spot in a highly competitive back three as Wallaby Jordan Petaia reportedly eyeing off a move to fullback.
This comes as Mac Grealy slotted into the position during his absence, starting in the Reds' final two games of the year.
He believes the added competition between spots will only make the side better as they push to back up their successful 2021 campaign.
“Yeah I think everyone in the team has some competition in the team, especially in the back where we are loaded especially in that back three with Suli (Vunivalu), Jords (Petaia) and Greals (Mac Grealy),” he said.
“It’s just competition and that’s the only way you can look at it. You can’t kick stones otherwise you won’t play well. I’m a back three player so I’m just looking to play anywhere there and perform well for the team."
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The squad will hit the road next month after announcing the third edition of their 'Reds to Region' tour.
The Inverell-born Campbell recognises the importance of connecting with the entire region, with the squad splitting into 14 separate groups across 33 regional centres around the state.
“Being a country boy myself, I think it’s pretty valuable to those communities,” he added.
“We are a Queensland-based side rather than just Brisbane-based so I think it’s a great initiative ‘Thorny’ has brought in.
“The boys love being out in the communities. I was out at Emerald for two years and met some wonderful people. To see the game grow one year to the next through COVID with rugby league not being played so a lot of kids are playing union so it’s incredible.”