Tandy prepares for first NRL finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tandy prepares for first NRL finals

By Melissa Woods 09/09/2009 10:04:41 AM Comments (0)

Melbourne forward Ryan Tandy personifies the term rugby league journeyman.

Four NRL clubs (and just 11 first grade games), one European Super League club and four British National League outfits - and no finals.

However that's all about to change on Friday night for the persistent 27-year-old prop when the Storm take on Manly in the first NRL qualifying final in Melbourne's Etihad Stadium.

Tandy will finally be rewarded for his years of travel and toil, with the heavy injury toll among the Storm pack giving him a break.

Tandy himself has a shoulder injury that requires off-season surgery but said it wasn't enough to keep him out after such a long wait.

"I've been pretty fortunate, it's been a long year but I've got a go at the right end of the year," said Tandy, who joined the Storm in March but has only played three first grade games for them.

"It's my first finals series so I'm pretty excited.

"I definitely thought that finals might pass me by ... coming down here I thought I was a good chance of playing finals football if I could make the team so all the hard work's paid off."

Making his first final even more special is the fact that he'll be up against his best mate, Manly captain Matt Orford.

Tandy and Orford grew up together on the NSW central coast, the Erina High schoolmates playing junior football together.

But their careers have had very different trajectories since, with Tandy shuffling from St George Illawarra to South Sydney then off to England with Doncaster, Widnes, Whitehaven and Barrow before joining Hull Kingston Rovers, then back to West Tigers for one season last year, a stint with Ireland at the World Cup, and then Melbourne.

Tandy revealed he was a guest of Orford at last year's grand final win over Melbourne, although he was quick to claim he was only supporting the halfback, not Manly.

Despite their divided loyalties, the parents of the two will sit together on Friday night.

"He (Orford) is a great guy, he was pretty excited for me and obviously himself for this weekend," Tandy said.

"But once we're on the field I don't care how he goes, as long as we get the win."

Tandy, who has signed for another season with the Storm, said he didn't expect any extra nerves in his first finals outing.

"We've got a lot of finals experience here so it's going to be quite easy with the boys.

"I've played enough games of footy now to understand what it entails."

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