Thurston hopeful of recovering for 'Roos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thurston hopeful of recovering for 'Roos

By Steve Jancetic and Todd Balym 08/05/2008 07:48:29 PM Comments (0)

Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston remains hopeful of playing but Cooper Cronk says he's again ready to fill the void after making an emergency dash to join the Kangaroos camp in Sydney.

Thurston sent a major scare through the Australian camp when he rolled his ankle in the team's final training run before Friday night's Centenary Test against New Zealand at the SCG.

The Test No.7 was sent for scans which confirmed a partially torn ligament, with coach Ricky Stuart to give his chief playmaker until just before kick-off to prove his fitness.

An SOS was sent out for Cronk, who was preferred ahead of in-form Gold Coast playmaker Scott Prince - the Test incumbent forced to give up on a planned go-karting session to zip across town for a flight to Sydney.

Thurston appeared to be moving reasonably freely as he made his way out of a Sydney medical centre on Thursday afternoon, the North Queensland star refusing to give up hope of playing in the landmark Test.

"I'll just go back to the hotel now and let the medical staff review the films and then we'll make a decision, but it feels good," Thurston said.

"It feels okay to walk on at the moment. I just rolled over on it, it's alright."

Most of the pre-match build up had centred on how the Kiwis would fare with their halfback Thomas Leuluai joining up with the squad just two days before the Test after making his way over from England.

But Leuluai will have two more sessions than what Cronk will have had should the Storm No.7 get the nod, meaning he'll have to run on instinct and memories of the 58-0 thumping of the Kiwis on his Test debut against New Zealand in October last year.

"As far as I know (I'm on) standby," Cronk said.

"No doubt knowing Johnathan and the bloke, he will be doing everything possible and the team will be doing everything possible for him to play.

"I have the boots and mouthguard but I'm just on standby for now."

Stuart said the potential loss of Thurston would be a huge disruption and add another piece of adversity for his side to overcome after they lost skipper Darren Lockyer (knee) at the start of the week.

"As halfback, he basically runs our game and he is not tagged one of the best players in the world for no reason at all, so it's a huge disruption," Stuart told Network Ten.

"If he is ruled out, this is a great test of how we as a group handle adversity and what type of mental toughness we own."

The reuniting of Cronk and Bird - who combined brilliantly in Australia's big win last year - played a large part in Stuart's decision to overlook Prince, the Test coach even telephoning the Titans skipper to explain why he missed out.

Cronk would also be surrounded by some familiar faces with six Storm teammates already in the Australian side, including key position players Cameron Smith at hooker and Billy Slater at fullback.

Throw in Storm five-eighth Greg Inglis - who is playing on the wing for Australia - and you can see why New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney, himself a Storm assistant, would be wary about the potential reshuffle.

When told of Cronk's possible inclusion, Kearney spent the afternoon poring over video footage to fully verse his team on the 24-year-old's game.

"I'm not 100 per cent sure if JT is out as yet. But we have to prepare if Cooper does play (so) we've got some clips of him," said Kearney.

"I know Cooper is a wonderful player and the combination he has with Cameron and Billy and the Melbourne players in the side will certainly make it a lot easier for him.

"We are very focused on what we need to do and, if Cooper happens to come into the side, it doesn't change anything from our point of view."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news