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Tigers winger Staines on the mend after health ordeal

Wests Tigers flyer Charlie Staines feared his NRL career could be over and his life would change forever when doctors told him he had perforated his bowel.

Staines suffered the gruesome injury during a hit-up against Manly in April and underwent emergency surgery.

The 22-year-old sensed something was wrong when he felt a burning sensation in his stomach while sitting on the lounge at home.

Tigers mentor Tim Sheens has coached for nearly 40 years but said he had never previously encountered an injury quite like the one sustained by Staines.

Last weekend, the winger made his comeback in his side’s loss to South Sydney. He has set his sights on helping turn things around for the Tigers.

“(Having a colostomy bag) was the worst-case scenario.

“I was fortunate that all the surgery went well, and I was only in hospital for a week.”

Staines said he felt no fear going into contact in the defeat to the Rabbitohs, in which he churned through 164 running metres on the wing.

“I didn’t think about it, you can’t play like that,” Staines said.

“That’s how you get hurt, if you go into a tackle and think about trying to protect yourself.

“That’s how I play — I play tough, and I won’t change how I play.”

Staines had dabbled in the No.1 jersey earlier in the year, but the rapid rise of rookie fullback Jahream Bula means he may have to be content with a wing spot for the rest of this season.

He has yet to agree terms with the Tigers beyond this year, but Staines is desperate to make up for lost time and lift the club off bottom spot.

“It would be nice to win the last five games,” Staines said ahead of Sunday’s trip to face Canberra.

“We’ve done a lot of good stuff this year, but we’ve got to keep it going for the 80 minutes,” he said.

“Getting five from five would allow us to finish the year on a high with a good feeling.”

7 News