All rep players available for Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

All rep players available for Dragons

By Laine Clark 12/04/2005 08:37:46 PM Comments (0)

A full representative deck will be up embattled Dragons coach Nathan Brown's sleeve for the first time this season after NSW Origin centre Matt Cooper was cleared to play against the Broncos.

Initially not expected back from a fractured cheekbone until round eight, Cooper has completed a lightning return from his round three injury to give Brown the rare luxury of choosing from his full complement of rep experience against Brisbane at Wollongong on Sunday.

Kangaroo tourist Cooper will line up alongside NSW centre partner Mark Gasnier at the expense of the benched Albert Torrens, boosting a once injury-ravaged Dragons side to almost full strength.

Only one member of the Dragons' elite 25-man squad was unavailable for selection - forward Michael Henderson (ankle).

It is an amazing comeback by Cooper who went under the knife last month after playing the final minutes of their round three loss against Penrith with a fractured cheekbone.

And it's a welcome change in luck for Brown who was feeling the heat with a "club review" to be held after round seven following the joint venture's worst season start.

Sunday's match will also commemorate the 1989 Panasonic Cup Final played between Illawarra and Brisbane, with the Dragons wearing replica Steelers jerseys.

For Brisbane, Justin Hodges returns from a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, defending premiers the Bulldogs hope to rediscover their bite with the return of Test prop Mark O'Meley for their grand final re-match against the Sydney Roosters on Friday night.

O'Meley has not played since the Bulldogs accounted for the Dragons in the first round - their only win of the season.

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