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Injured Penrith prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard has turned to KFC’s popcorn chicken and mashed potato in a desperate bid to quickly regain the 8kg of weight he lost with a broken jaw.
The NSW front-rower, who injured his jaw four weeks ago, had the bands taken out on Monday and can only now begin to open his stiff mouth and talk properly.
In that time the 115kg prop was basically left eating out of a straw, seeing him a lose a tonne of weight and physically behind ahead of his hopeful round-21 return.
“It’s hard. When you’re trying to force food through a syringe there’s only so much pumpkin soup you can eat,” Campbell-Gillard said.
“The first week was tough and it just got really tough after that. Trying to get as much energy and food in the body without trying to lose too much weight – you don’t do it on purpose but it happens.
“I ended up losing about 8kg. There was nothing I could do about it, but I have to try and regain that within four weeks and work hard to try and put it back on.”
So with that in mind, Campbell-Gillard has turned to the usually unhealthy addiction of fast food to turn his body back to what it once was when he made his NSW debut just over a month ago.
“I reverted to in the last couple of days doing mashed potato and popcorn chicken from KFC. It’s all about the tastebuds,” he said.
“You don’t realise it absolutely sucks when you can’t eat and chew and you just find little ways to try and get as much food and protein in a syringe.
“It sucks but that’s rugby league. I’ve just got to try and find those extra kilos to put back on.”
Campbell-Gillard’s layoff has at least been a fruitful one.
He last month put pen to paper on a five-year extension that will keep him at the club until the end of 2024 – making him the second most secure player in the game contract-wise behind Jason Taumalolo.
But he’s vowed not to get complacent in that time.
“I don’t want to get comfortable and I think some people tend to get comfortable if they have a contract secured for a long period,” he said.
“I definitely don’t want that. I’m still here to better my football and work hard.
“The security is a massive bonus but I’ll work very hard every game I play when I pull on that jersey.”