Gasnier named for Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gasnier named for Dragons

By Cameron Tomarchio 05/08/2008 08:03:21 PM Comments (0)

Two sides in danger of sliding out of the NRL's top eight have received timely boosts, with Dragons captain Mark Gasnier and Penrith second-rower Frank Pritchard both named to return this weekend.

Rugby-bound Gasnier has recovered from the thigh injury he picked up against the Bulldogs a fortnight ago and will line up alongside Matt Cooper in the centres against Wests Tigers on Friday night.

Pritchard, a late withdrawal against ladder-leaders Manly last Friday night, has been named to face the Raiders in Canberra on Sunday after overcoming an ongoing shoulder injury.

Panthers coach Matthew Elliott said it was too early to be certain the 24-year-old Kiwi international would play but the signs were positive.

"He's been training for two weeks now," Elliott said.

"He had a cortisone yesterday into the affected area so he can't do anything until Thursday, so we'll know definitely by Thursday.

"Our expectation is he'll play, he wasn't miles off last week, but if he played last week, it could have impacted on his ability to play the next three."

Forward Josh Miller will return from a minor knee injury for the Raiders and will replace Ryan Hinchcliffe, who may be out for the season after he re-broke his thumb in Sunday's loss to the Broncos.

In another injury blow for tenth-placed Canberra, second-rower Glen Turner will require season-ending surgery on his ankle.

Warriors fullback Wade McKinnon has been rushed back into the top grade for Saturday night's match against Brisbane in Auckland.

The 27-year-old was initially ruled out for the season after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee in a preseason trial against Newcastle in February, requiring surgery.

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary named the star custodian in the starting side, without a single match in the lower grades.

"It's a tribute to Wade and our medical staff that he's in a position to come back into the side now," Cleary said.

The 12th-placed Warriors sit only two points from sixth spot and the match, which will also be McKinnon's 100th in first grade, shapes as a season-defining one.

Michael Witt has been recalled to five-eighth for the Warriors, shifting Nathan Fien to halfback and Grant Rovelli out of the side.

Parramatta will be without Luke Burt for Sunday's match against the Roosters at the Sydney Football Stadium after the fullback suffered rib cartilage damage in Monday night's 32-12 loss to Newcastle Knights.

Jarryd Hayne will take Burt's place at No.1, while Joel Reddy will line up in the centres.

And in the match of the weekend, star back-rower Anthony Watmough has been ruled out of the Manly side to take on premiers Melbourne at Brookvale Oval.

The Storm have made only one change to the team that thumped Gold Coast 44-4 last Friday, with Queensland lock Dallas Johnson returning from a week's rest.

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