A torn ligament in his shoulder saw Ash Grieve miss almost half the Upper Mid North Coast Rugby Union season.
The Hastings Valley Vikings forward started 2021 with four strong performances in the opening rounds before injury sent him to the sidelines.
In a disrupted season, the 22-year-old returned against Port Macquarie a fortnight ago before the Vikings sat out last weekend due to the bye.
While he has been happy with his form, the experience of teammates such as David Tunstead, and Hamish and Adam Mccormack has made the transition into the top grade easier.
"They help us young ones filter into the first grade side pretty easily," Grieve said.
"Adsy at the back instructs everyone where to go ... he's got a wealth of knowledge to help our conversion into first grade."
Grieve admitted the ongoing COVID cloud that hovers over the season had made for some uncertain times.
"Even in the past few weeks with the restrictions coming in at different places, I've been looking online waiting to see if Rugby Australia are going to call it off so the whole competition is on edge a little bit," he said.
"We haven't been hit too bad yet with restrictions, we've played as per normal so far which has been good."
The Vikings host Kempsey at Oxley Oval on Saturday keen to avenge a surprise 41-33 defeat four weeks ago.
"Kempsey are always tough to play against and you know the next day after you've played them, but it should be a good hit out this weekend," Grieve said.
With the finals less than a month away, Hastings Valley are ready to hit their straps.
"Hopefully we can stay healthy, pick up the pace going into the finals and start firing on all cylinders from the start of every game," he said.
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