O'Donnell up beat over rep league return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

O'Donnell up beat over rep league return

By Ben Galvin and Daniel Pace 23/04/2008 05:03:45 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland forward Luke O'Donnell hasn't given up hope of snaring a prized representative jersey despite being ruled out for a month after undergoing successful hip surgery in Melbourne.

The former NSW and Australian backrower was pushing hard for selection in the May 9 Centenary Test against New Zealand at the SCG and the Origin series after overcoming a horrific hamstring injury suffered last year.

Following an indifferent start to the season, O'Donnell was regaining his form and trademark aggression when he was forced from the field in the Cowboys' 48-20 victory over the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday night.

North Queensland football manager Dean Lance said although disappointed the Cowboys would lose their forwards leader, it was pleasing the injury was not as serious as first thought.

"The arthroscopy was a success and we look to have Luke back on the field within the month so that is good news for us," said Lance.

"It is disappointing for him with State of Origin and representative teams coming up.

"He is pretty confident obviously when he starts playing again there is more rep stuff later in the Origin series and obviously there is a World Cup at the end of the year."

O'Donnell is certain to miss the Origin series opener in Sydney on May 21 and may struggle to break into the Blues squad for game II at Suncorp Stadium on June 11.

The Cowboys have a round 11 bye, giving O'Donnell only the May 31 clash with his old club Wests Tigers to prove himself to NSW selectors.

It'll be a tough ask considering the depth of NSW backrowers, with Greg Bird, Paul Gallen, Anthony Tupou, Willie Mason, Andrew Ryan, Nathan Hindmarsh and Anthony Laffranchi all in the mix.

"I can only do my best in terms of keeping fit, which I'm sure I'll do a good job of during my time off," O'Donnell told AAP on Wednesday.

"That's all I can do and the rest is up to the selectors.

"I don't have much control over it.

"Ultimately I want to be back playing my best footy for the Cowboys and everything else will flow on."

Looking at the positives, O'Donnell is confident he can add to his 11 Test appearances by playing in this year's World Cup.

"That's definitely something pretty high on the agenda and that's why getting things like this sorted out earlier will be a good thing for me in the long run," the 27-year-old said.

"My leg's been sore for a few weeks now and it's been hard to pinpoint where the pain was coming from.

"It was good to get a bit of clarity on what the problem was and get it fixed."

Lance said the club's medical staff were taking no chances with O'Donnell's health following last year's sickening "wishbone" tackle that restricted him to just four NRL games.

Cowboys athletic performance manager Glen Murphy said the operation performed by Dr David Young was a clean out of loose cartilage in the hip joint.

North Queensland's forwards depth is set to be further tested, with O'Donnell joining Matt Scott, Sione Faumuina, Shane Tronc and Anthony Watts on the sidelines.

Fringe second-rower Matthew Bartlett will start in O'Donnell's absence for the match against premiers Melbourne in Townsville on Saturday while Scott Bolton will come off the bench in his first taste of NRL action this year.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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