Tiger Richards sweats on fitness test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tiger Richards sweats on fitness test

By Steve Jancetic 30/09/2005 07:37:28 PM Comments (0)

A fitness test on Saturday morning will determine the grand final fate of giant Wests Tigers winger Pat Richards, with young flyer Shannon McDonnell poised to rekindle memories of another Tim Sheens selection stunt on the eve of the NRL decider.

Richards will attempt to run at full pace at Telstra Stadium on Saturday under the watchful eye of the club's medical and coaching staff.

The Wigan-bound winger sounded hopeful on Friday after a visit to the club doctor.

"He just said it comes down to how I run tomorrow in the fitness test," Richards said.

"There's still a bit of hope there, but there's also a bit of doubt so I've just got to wait and see how I perform."

The man waiting in the wings is 18-year-old schoolboy McDonnell who has played just one game of NRL.

Tigers coach Tim Sheens will make a decision between McDonnell and fellow winger Matthew Rieck on Saturday, but Richards could be given until an hour before kick-off on Sunday to prove his fitness if Saturday's run goes well.

McDonnell's potential call-up would revive memories of Sheens' grand final gamble in 1994, when he plucked veteran front rower Paul Osborne from relative obscurity to replace John Lomax for Canberra's showdown with Canterbury.

Osborne starred in a cameo appearance and Canberra ran away with the match 36-12.

McDonnell's father Warren, who is also the Tigers' recruitment manager, said his son was still hoping Richards would be passed fit, despite the obvious appeal of a grand final berth.

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