Packer faces ban after long wait for NRL

Scott Bailey
Russell Packer faces a ban for a tackle in Wests Tigers' NRL loss to Canberra

Russell Packer had to wait 418 days for his NRL return but he now faces another stint on the sidelines for his high shot on Canberra forward Joseph Tapine.

Packer was on Sunday charged with a grade-three careless high tackle, meaning he will miss two games with an early plea or three if he fights and loses.

After a nightmare 14 months, the Wests Tigers forward won't be afraid to face even more adversity.

Last sighted in the NRL on the day Bankwest Stadium was opened in April last year, Packer battled nerve damage in his toe that prevented him running.

Not for the first time in his career, it would have been easier for the former Kiwi prop to quit rugby league than fight back.

But numerous times the 30-year-old refused to take no for answer.

He first had surgery on his toe last August, and when that didn't work there were rumblings at the Tigers he would be medically retired.

But Packer wouldn't go down without a fight, having a second surgery in March in one final bid to keep his NRL career alive.

"I've got pretty good at not listening to people over my life," Packer said.

"I went and saw a couple of different doctors and had a few roadblocks. There is no doubt about that.

"My recovery from the first surgery had some lingering complications.

"After the journey I have been on I am just grateful to be back on the field and grateful that my body is able to play again."

Packer was left disappointed by his return in the Tigers' loss to the Raiders - being sin-binned, put on report and missing a tackle in the lead up to a try in his 12-minute stint.

His possible ban will leave him in a familiar place to where he was on the competition's return last month.

Out of the Tigers' 17 and unable to prove himself in a lower grade without a NSW Cup competition to run out in.

"I'm a pretty optimistic person," he said.

"I have been through a few things in my life where I probably thought things were going to happen where most people wouldn't.

"I guess that's belief."