Murray racing clock to be fit for round one after undergoing same surgery as Cleary

Cameron Murray is determined to be fit for round one after revealing he underwent the same major shoulder surgery as NSW Origin teammate Nathan Cleary.

While much was made about the Penrith premiership-winning captain going under the knife after the NRL grand final, Murray had the same procedure in the same week at the same Brisbane hospital.

Recovery time from the latarjet procedure can be up to six months, however Murray is backing himself to play in South Sydney’s season opener against former teammate Adam Reynolds and the Broncos in Brisbane.

Souths fans will know in the next week whether Murray will begin the 2022 season as the club’s new skipper.

Murray was spotted in a sling while holidaying with Souths teammates, but few were aware of how much pain he had endured the past couple of seasons, nor the fact he required a major shoulder reconstruction.

Unlike Cleary’s injury, which he suffered during a brave Origin II performance, Murray’s right shoulder has degraded after suffering heavy punishment over a period of time.

“I’ve had a sore right shoulder for a couple of years,” he said. “I’ve got through everything by keeping it strong, and the rehab staff here looking after me – they are the ones who have kept me on the field and playing.

“I got a scan towards the end of last season and they said I needed to get it done.

“It was a full shoulder reconstruction. They call it a latarjet procedure, which is a four- to six-month recovery. I got it done on October 11.

“Cleary had the same surgery. I saw him last week at the Blues awards and we worked out we got it at the same time, but we had different surgeons.

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“There was no one incident with mine. I’m confident of being back for round one, but I also won’t rush it.”

Murray has barely missed a game the past four seasons – he has already amassed more than 100 NRL games at the age of 23 – and has also been heavily involved with the Blues and Kangaroos.

Next year is a World Cup year, but Murray said he had never struggled with physical or mental fatigue – and there was an easy explanation for that.

“I love what I do, I love playing footy,” he said. “I’m not worried about burnout – you can never worry about burnout when you’re doing something you love.

“I also make sure I have interests outside of footy. I enjoy holidays, spend time with family and friends, help charities organisations … and always make sure I’m getting away from everything.”

Souths coach Jason Demetriou will make the call on his skipper with the race to succeed Reynolds between Murray, Damien Cook and Cody Walker.

Murray, however, is seen as the raging favourite, especially because of his age and Redfern roots.

The lock forward played down his captaincy credentials and said if he was given the nod, he would lean on the senior players around him, similar to what Pat Cummins has done with the Australian cricket team.

Demetriou said Murray was one reason he loved coming into work every day in his new role as head coach.

“Cameron is South Sydney; he represents everything our club is about,” Demetriou said. “He’s a leader with what he does rather than what he says, and I like those kind of players.

“He keeps it simple, he knows what works for him on and off the field, he’s an ultimate professional and I turn up every day blessed and excited to work with him.

“Not only is he one of the elite No.13s in the game, but he has produced some match-winning performances in the back row at Origin level and played exceptionally well for us in the centres.

“He loves footy and he’s a good advertisement for the game.”

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