Cayless fights hard to make grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cayless fights hard to make grand final

By Steve Jancetic and David Beniuk 26/09/2009 03:19:13 PM Comments (0)

Sleepless night are par for the course in grand final week, but for Parramatta skipper Nathan Cayless, they'll take on a whole new meaning over the next eight days.

While the former New Zealand international could be excused for feeling a few nerves given he is just 80 minutes away from exorcising the demon of his 2001 grand final anguish, it will be ice on the hamstring rather than butterflies in the stomach that will be keeping him up at all hours.

As he limped off the field with a strained hamstring after just nine minutes of Saturday night's 22-12 preliminary final win over the Bulldogs, the veteran prop looked no chance of backing up nine days later in the big one.

But typifying the never-say-die attitude which has been the calling card of Parrramatta's late-season surge through a series of sudden death matches, Cayless said he would give himself every chance of being fit for the decider.

"Physio three times a day, no sleep - I've juts got to do what I can I suppose," Cayless said.

"Fingers crossed I'll be good enough to get a run."

At 31 years of age, Cayless admitted hamstring strains were not an uncommon occurrence, but he was hopeful the knowledge of how to treat the injury would aid his recovery.

"I've done it before and made it back in a week, he said.

"I suppose the thing in my favour is I've got plenty of days to recover, time to get it right for the game."

While Cayless would no doubt be devastated to miss the grand final, he wasn't letting the injury sour the mood of the Eels dressing room following their tenth win from their last 11 matches.

"I'm so happy and proud of the boys and the staff - everyone's worked really hard to get here, we've come from eighth to make the grand final," Cayless said.

"But we're not happy just to make it, we want to make sure that do everything we can to win the thing, that's what it's all about - no-one remembers who came runner-up.

"There's a great belief in this group, we've been through so much this season and to be here right now, it's a bit surreal at the moment."

Cayless is one of three remaining players from the 2001 grand final loss to Newcastle, with Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt the others to 30-24 loss to the Knights.

While stunned that the Eels had survived three months of sudden death football to make it to another decider, Burt said the club was determined to ensure the likes of Hindmarsh and Cayless collected a premiership in the blue and gold.

"It probably won't mean what it should mean unless we do come away with a win," Burt said.

"They both deserve one. What they've done for New Zealand football and Australian football and Parrramatta as a club is unbelievable and those two deserve to lead us out next week and we need to really get behind them and do our best to get them their goal."

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