MacDougall only played on to make finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

MacDougall only played on to make finals

Ben Horne 31/07/2011 07:10:44 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle veteran Adam MacDougall revealed he only decided to play on this NRL season because of the prospect of finals football.

The 36-year-old has endured one of the toughest years of his life, following the passing of his father and a long run of injuries and infection which has restricted him to just two matches in the past four months.

But his stoic effort in Sunday's 50-20 victory over Gold Coast showed the `Mad Dog' still has some tricks.

In a heart-to-heart chat with Knights coach Rick Stone earlier in the season, MacDougall decided to play on in the hope he could receive a fitting farewell in the NRL finals after 17 seasons in the game.

Newcastle's smashing of the Titans opened up a four point gap on chasing teams Penrith, Canterbury and South Sydney - and it seems MacDougall will get his wish to farewell rugby league in the playoffs.

"That's the only reason why I played this year, I went around for this season given me and Stoney decided it would be fitting for me to hopefully go out in the finals," MacDougall said.

"That's what I intended to do and while it's been well documented I've had some bad stuff happen this year with my dad passing away and the infection (a golden staph infection mid-season following his knee injury), I can see light at the end of the tunnel so it would be good to finish on a good note."

Despite running on old legs and having scarcely played this season, MacDougall wound back the clock to score a bulldozing try and pop a superb flick pass for winger Akuila Uate to score his third.

With the smell of finals football in the air, MacDougall said he never had doubts about his capabilities after he was a late call-up into the Knights side.

"I always knew that I was going to play some good footy," he said.

Stone said he expects MacDougall to now play out the rest of the season.

"He's still a marvel old Dougs, he can get himself up for a game," said the coach.

Captain Kurt Gidley said MacDougall's famous self-confidence was back at just the right time.

"I think I just heard the line then (in the sheds), he'd love to play outside himself," retold Gidley.

"If he nominates himself to play he's normally up for it ... he's still got it."

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