Sprinkler drowns Pritchard's NRL start - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sprinkler drowns Pritchard's NRL start

By Steve Jancetic 06/03/2009 05:40:19 PM Comments (0)

A run-in with an errant sprinkler head has left powerful Penrith backrower Frank Pritchard in doubt for next week's NRL season-opener against Cronulla.

Pritchard came off second best when he trod on the metal head - standing just a few centimetres off the ground - during a training drill this week, the New Zealand international unable to take part in Friday's training session due to a bruised heal.

"It's similar to a stone bruise on his heal," Panthers coach Matthew Elliott told AAP after training on Friday.

"He didn't run today but we'll be able to make a call on him on Monday - we're looking to get a full week's training out of him on Monday."

Elliott refused to rule Pritchard out of the Sharks encounter, but admitted the powerful second-rower would not be named on Tuesday if he did not complete Monday's session.

The latest setback continues a disrupted pre-season for Pritchard, who missed all of the Panthers trial matches as he continued his rehabilitation from off-season shoulder surgery.

His availability would give the Panthers one of the best credentialled backrows in the competition with former Australian Test representatives Trent Waterhouse and Luke Lewis set to join him at the back of the scrum.

After being used at halfback for much of 2008, Lewis looks set to spend much of `09 at lock with Elliott keen to utilise his unique blend of playmaking and ball-running skills.

"I don't see him playing too much different no matter what number he wears on his back," Elliott said.

"We just felt that the longer he spent in the halves last year he certainly got more comfortable in that position, but we just lost his running game a little bit, and that's probably one of his strengths."

Elliott said the race for the No.1 jumper remained undecided with Michael Gorden and young gun Lachlan Coote both impressing during Penrith's three trial matches.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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