Matai to delay surgery for grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Matai to delay surgery for grand final

By Todd Balym 29/09/2008 08:01:39 PM Comments (0)

Manly centre Steve Matai requires surgery on bone fragments floating around his shoulder and Melbourne star Greg Inglis's "knees are shot", but both will play in Sunday's NRL grand final.

Kiwi Test star Matai has revealed the full extent of his shoulder troubles as he was sent for further scans on the injury that has got progressively worse over the season.

Matai needs surgery at the end of the year, and may miss the World Cup, but regardless of his latest test results the 24-year-old said there was "no way" he would miss the rematch with the Storm at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

"I hope it's not completely busted but I should be right," Matai told AAP.

"I know I've got a few chipped bones there so I have to get that cleaned out at the end of the year."

Inglis doesn't face surgery, but the 21-year-old says he is suffering pain from another growth spurt.

The Australian Test star told the Nine Network the pain had become worse in recent weeks and he was an 80 per cent chance of playing in the grand final.

"My knees are shot," Inglis said.

"I think it's just a growth spurt again.

"Hopefully I don't grow too much more because it is absolutely killing me."

Inglis won last year's Clive Churchill Medal and while he has been off his top form in recent weeks it is unlikely knee pain alone would be enough to rule him out of a grand final.

Matai's ability to play almost the entire season under duress has become a source of jokes among teammates.

They've nicknamed him the Waterboy, after Adam Sandler's movie character Bobby Boucher, an American footballer who smashes opponents and when he gets injured makes an amazing recovery after sipping on some "high quality H2O".

"Old Waterboy. He gets the magic water every week and it seems to fix him," said backrower Anthony Watmough.

But it is not just shoulder pain that is ailing Matai this week after he claimed a crusher tackle in the victory over the Warriors also caused his old neck injury to flare up.

"I got caught in what looked like a crusher tackle and I just pulled up pretty sore," he said.

He isn't the only Sea Eagle nursing an injury into the decider.

Skipper and halfback Matt Orford had scans on his ankle injury while lock Glenn Stewart is suffering from a corked leg.

Coach Des Hasler said all three would definitely play this week as the trio is expected to resume training with the squad by Wednesday.

Matai has become a key figure in the Manly backline this year and was among their most influential players in their 32-6 annihilation of the Warriors last Saturday.

He said it was a boost to his own confidence to play well heading into a clash with Storm Test star Israel Folau, one of several Melbourne players to have standout games in last year's decider.

"He is a big, strong player, I just have to get up in his face I think," Matai said.

"I'm not really going out for revenge. We just have to go out and play the best we can and hopefully come away with the win.

"I think we only played 10 or 15 minutes (in last year's grand final) and then we just kind of sat back and I think the occasion got to us.

"This year we know what to expect because we were there last year and hopefully we can go one better."

Melbourne have no injury concerns heading into the decider and in a major relief prop Brett White escaped a charge by the match review committee for an alleged elbow to rival Ben Ross.

The NSW forward was relieved to be cleared to play in the grand final, but always felt he had no case to answer.

"Any time you get put on report you always worry, especially in grand final week," White said.

"I had faith they (the match review panel) would see the incident for what it was - that there was no malicious intent.

"I looked at it a thousand times and I knew there was nothing there."

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