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NSW's walking wounded hopeful of being fit

By Ian McCullough 28/06/2011 06:31:47 PM Comments (0)

A pair of NSW's walking wounded expressed confidence of being fit for next week's State of Origin decider, as the full Blues squad finally met up in Sydney on Tuesday.

With seven of Ricky Stuart's 20-man squad involved in Monday night's NRL clash between St George Illawarra and Manly injuries were always going to be a concern.

And so it proved with Dragons backrower Ben Creagh (ankle), five-eighth Jamie Soward (hamstring) and Manly's Glenn Stewart (back) all picking up knocks in the premiers' 24-6 win at Wollongong.

Dragons second-rower Beau Scott missed the game with a knee complaint to join Kurt Gidley (hamstring) and Michael Jennings (ankle) in a packed Blues' physio room.

Creagh said he felt he would be passed fit to play in the July 6 clash in Brisbane but despite being cleared of a torn hamstring, Soward admitted he's unsure if he would be able to take his place in the side.

"I had some scans and it has come back pretty positive," Soward said on Tuesday.

"There is not a tear there, but it's still pretty sore. I will see how it pulls up in the next couple of days.

"I'd need to be pretty fit by Friday, just so my teammates have the confidence I will be right and the coach does as well ... we will just have to wait and see."

However, the 25-year-old said he would be able to play even if he did little in the way of training in the build-up to what will be an emotion-packed occasion at Suncorp Stadium, with Queensland skipper Darren Lockyer making his final Origin appearance.

"I'd be confident, I know the game plan and how we want to play, but hopefully we don't get to that stage," he said.

The Blues would normally start light training at this stage of their preparations.

But players involved in action on Monday were put through a recovery program in the pool and ice baths at the team hotel, with the others spending time working in the gym.

Creagh admitted he was in some discomfort after picking up the injury, but is fully confident there's enough time before the game to fully recover.

"It was bit sore at the back end of last night, but I will do my recovery this week and make sure I am right for next week," Creagh said.

"I'll do all the rehab up until about Sunday ... have a run and see how it goes, but at the moment it's looking alright."

Like every other player carrying injuries into the camp, Creagh has not been given a timeframe to prove his fitness by Stuart, but Friday is looming as D-day for those struggling.

"The plan is to have a light run on Friday and then a good hit-out on Sunday, there are a few guys who won't be able to train which is why Ricky has picked 20 players so there are a few who can fill spots in the side so it is not that disrupted.

"There is plenty of time before the game to get it right."

Creagh said he hoped the NRL would look at ways of ensuring players do not have to play club matches after an Origin side had been picked to avoid a situation where players are coming into camp with fresh injuries.

"I think the NRL are doing this along those lines, bringing in a different day for Origin, but I hope so in the future they do, it will help both sides and all the players involved," he said.

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