Gower back in Origin calculations - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gower back in Origin calculations

By Steve Jancetic 15/06/2004 07:31:49 PM Comments (0)

Penrith halfback Craig Gower is back in the hunt to reclaim his State of Origin jumper after being named to make his return from injury in the Panthers National Rugby League clash with Cronulla on Sunday.

Gower damaged knee ligaments in NSW's 9-8 win in game one of the Origin series, with the initial diagnosis ruling him out of the rest of the series.

But Gower is now back in the frame for game three in Sydney on July 7, especially after this week's dramas surrounding the Blues No.7 jumper for tomorrow night's second game.

The NSW halfback slot will be filled by Brett Finch after Brett Kimmorley, Trent Barrett and Matt Orford were all ruled out due to injury.

Gower was expected to return next week for Penrith's local derby against the Eels.

"It comes as a surprise to me, but he's (coach John Lang) not the sort of person to name a bloke if he's not going to play," said Panthers Media Manager Robert Weaver.

"We'll know more on Thursday, but he's down there training with the boys today so I'd say there is a good chance he'll play."

The Panthers will take on a Sharks outfit minus fullback David Peachey (thigh) and playmaker Kimmorley (hamstring). They welcome back tryscoring centre Nigel Vagana, who missed Cronulla's 26-16 loss to the Raiders with an ankle injury.

St George Illawarra will field a near full-strength line-up for its clash with Wests on Sunday following the return of international pair Mark Gasnier and Jason Ryles.

Gasnier has not played since injuring his ankle in the Dragons' 14-12 loss to North Queensland two weeks ago, while front-rower Ryles has been out since round 11, where he hurt his foot in the win over Parramatta.

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