Cowboy O'Donnell breathes sigh of relief - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboy O'Donnell breathes sigh of relief

By Laine Clark 26/09/2005 06:51:45 PM Comments (0)

The first pangs of grand final excitement shuddered through North Queensland backrower Luke O'Donnell after he was cleared to play in Sunday's NRL season decider against Wests Tigers.

Despite the hysteria surrounding the Cowboys' triumphant Townsville return, O'Donnell was an anxious man after being placed on report for a hit on Parramatta playmaker Tim Smith in North Queensland's shock 29-0 preliminary final win over minor premier Eels on Sunday.

The 47th minute tackle on Smith opened a gash above the young Eels playmaker's eye, forcing him to leave the field temporarily while O'Donnell was left with a cut chin.

But barely two hours after touching down amid chaotic scenes at Townsville airport, O'Donnell breathed a sigh of relief when the NRL match review committee only charged Parramatta's PJ Marsh for a dangerous throw.

"I was pretty confident but I'm happy now that I won't have anything hanging over my head during the week," O'Donnell said.

"I was surprised that it was placed on report and that they thought it was late - I don't know where the call came from.

"I was pretty sure he (Smith) was the one who was supposed to get the ball.

"I think it was a mis-guided pass and it hit the ground instead of hitting the man - I was never going to be able to pull out of the tackle."

O'Donnell said he would now soak up the atmosphere before the Cowboys leave Townsville on Wednesday for Sydney in the countdown to their historic grand final appearance.

The Cowboys were welcomed back from Sydney at Townsville Airport by thousands of hysterical fans.

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