Finch breathing easy over Storm return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Finch breathing easy over Storm return

By Melissa Woods 17/07/2009 07:22:55 PM Comments (0)

Five-eighth Brett Finch is set to ease Melbourne's injury woes ahead of Monday night's NRL encounter with Parramatta, however skipper Cameron Smith remains in doubt.

Finch was expected to miss the Parramatta Stadium game after he was diagnosed with a partially collapsed lung following the Storm's 18-14 round 17 win over Newcastle.

However his treatment, which included up to 16 hours a day on an oxygen machine, appears to have reaped early rewards.

Finch completed his first contact session on Friday and looks likely to run out against the side that axed him earlier this season.

"He's done everything we've asked and pulled up well and the specialist is really happy with him," said Storm physio Mary Toomey.

"He thinks his lung is working well.

"He's still a bit of a work in progress and at this stage we might not make a call until Monday."

Young halfback James Maloney is on standby.

Melbourne are desperate for Finch to play, with an injury cloud over Origin hooker Smith.

While the other representative players had a short training session, Smith sat out altogether nursing a shoulder injury he aggravated in Origin on Wednesday night.

Smith was first-choice five-eighth before Finch joined the Storm from the Eels, however with his back-up hooker Ryan Hinchcliffe missing the match through suspension, the pickings at No.6 and No.9 are slim.

Toomey said while there was nothing structurally wrong with the captain, he was far from a certainty to play.

"He's just generally very tired and sore so we're not sure at this stage," she said.

Storm halfback Cooper Cronk, who was called into the Maroons as 18th man, said his side had put Origin behind them and was focused on making the finals.

He said there was no need for peace-making despite the bitter aftermath to the match.

"You see at the airport on Thursday morning, Brett White (from NSW) was there and we were sitting having a general chit-chat.

"We're all well aware of what Origin's about and you play for that game and then come back and enjoy what you have at club."

While coach Craig Bellamy had engineered a long-awaited NSW victory, Cronk said that didn't mean he let up on the Storm.

"It wouldn't have mattered if they won by 40 or lost by 40 points, he's still a grumpy bastard, that doesn't change," Cronk said.

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