Pritchard back training with Penrith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pritchard back training with Penrith

By Todd Balym 08/03/2007 07:13:03 PM Comments (0)

Penrith backrower Frank Pritchard returned to his "sanctuary", completing his first training session with teammates since a vicious street brawl last month.

Pritchard, who was stabbed twice in his thumb in the early morning incident at Liverpool on February 17, joined his Panthers teammates in Thursday's session and coach Matthew Elliott believes the Kiwi international remains on track to be available for round one next week.

It was the first time Pritchard had trained with the Panthers since the incident as Elliott had given the rest of the team five days off after their 12-day camp in Darwin and the Gold Coast.

"Yeah (Pritchard) is back in full training," said Elliott.

"It was tremendous, he is a big personality in our squad, we certainly like to have him around and it's just great to have him around, it really is.

"The good thing about this environment is the players know him and he's not going to be falsely judged or anything here.

"The players are comfortable with him, I guess this is his sanctuary to some degree."

A comeback to football seemed a pipedream less than three weeks ago when Pritchard faced surgery to repair his lacerated thumb from the attack.

His younger brother Tom miraculously survived three stab wounds to the chest after Frank carried him bleeding and without a heartbeat into Liverpool hospital where he underwent open-heart surgery.

The incident is a matter of police investigation with Frank Pritchard and five others due to face court charged with affray on March 26.

Elliott said Pritchard was doing all he could to put the drama behind him and make himself available for round one against Cronulla.

"He is a chance, we still need some confirmation as to what happened inside his thumb so it's been fairly hard for us to track that down," said Elliott.

"He's got full movement in his thumb, he just needs to be able to bend it a little bit.

"Obviously there's some little things he needs to overcome with that sort of injury but he's fine."

With the Panthers losing trial matches to Newcastle and Gold Coast comprehensively, Elliott denied there was any reason to panic yet.

The new coach said everything was going according to plan for Penrith, even if they had yet to score a victory.

"We probably would have liked to have won a game but really the emphasis was to get ready for round one, that's all we've been focussed on the whole time," he said.

"Our combinations were fine, it was just a little bit of ball control.

"I'm really, really comfortable with what the boys have done and still confident we are certainly well down the path."

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