Gallen passed fit to take on Titans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gallen passed fit to take on Titans

Ben Horne 05/08/2011 04:30:17 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla captain Paul Gallen passed a fitness test on Friday and is expected to return from injury against Gold Coast at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night.

Gallen has been battling a calf injury and was forced into a rare two-week stint on the NRL sidelines.

But the courageous lock will risk further damage and lead his side out against the Titans after completing everything asked of him at the Sharks' final training session.

The only risk to Gallen taking the field for the do-or-die clash is if he wakes up on Saturday morning and the pain from his torn calf has intensified.

Fullback Nathan Gardner will play for Cronulla's NSW Cup side.

Despite being left out of the 17 at the beginning of the week, there was some chance Gardner would still play, but it's now been confirmed that after a run of poor form he'll make way for Isaac Gordon at the back.

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said Gardner and Colin Best weren't scapegoats for last week's flogging by Brisbane, and declared the lightning fast No.1 and the experienced centre would make it back to first grade.

"No, he's (Gardner) not a scapegoat, Nathan hasn't been at his best over the last month, he's been battling a few niggling injuries which has affected his form a little bit and the bloke that's replaced him there Ike (Isaac) Gordon has been playing really well," Flanagan said.

"He's a great player and he'll come back from it.

"Colin Best ... he's been great for us over the year. He didn't have a great game last week but he wasn't on his own, that's for sure. I needed to make a couple of changes and where and whom was a tough decision, and he'll just have a rest this week and be back bigger and better."

Cronulla are six competition points out of the top eight picture, but Flanagan says the topsy-turvy nature of the NRL means his Sharks can't give up yet.

Flanagan needs Newcastle and Wests Tigers to fall into significant holes over the final five weeks and the Sharks would need to win every remaining game to be any chance.

"We've won four in a row (this season) and there's five games left and we're confident that we can win all of our games," he said.

"Our form over the last couple of weeks has been poor, and we've all put our hands up and admitted to that.

"We're in a situation now where we're still in control of our own destiny a little bit, if we win five games we can probably scrape in there, but we've got to win five games and that's a tough job."

Wooden spoon favourites the Titans will now have the added motivation of playing for veteran Preston Campbell, who announced on Friday he will retire at season's end.

Campbell won the 2001 Dally M medal while playing for the Sharks and with the emotion of calling it a day running through him, the utility will be primed for a big one against his former side.

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