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Wests Tigers mid-year recruit Brent Naden feels like he has been suspended for "half the season" but insists he has nothing to prove when he makes his return against North Queensland.
Naden became the first Tigers player in 20 years to be sent off when he up-ended Manly's Jake Trbojevic with a spear tackle in round 14.
The NRL's match review committee suspended Naden for four matches but given his ban coincided with the representative round bye, the 26-year-old has not played in five weeks.
"It's felt like half the season, to be honest," he said.
"I had a lot of time to reflect on my tackle.
"It was just one of those tackles that got away from me. I obviously didn't mean to hurt him or anything like that."
Naden had his workload increased by the training staff during his time away and while he is ready to return to the action, he isn't out to repay the Tigers for his mistimed tackle.
"I've got a job to do for the team so I'm just focusing on that," he said.
"I've been getting flogged in fitness, trying to keep my fitness up.
"I'm very excited to get back to playing and rip in with the boys."
Teammate Joe Ofahengaue said Naden's return couldn't come soon enough for the Tigers, who will likely need to upset the Cowboys to finish the round off the bottom of the ladder.
"He's got a bit of energy about him," he said.
"All the boys feed off that. He makes strong carries out of the back-field that we've been missing.
"To have Naden there, it's going to create some ruck speed and hopefully (fullback) Daine Laurie can feed off the back of that."