Thursday, 21 June 2012
Brisbane forward Corey Parker has lived up to his tag of rugby league's quickest healer after being cleared to play in Petero Civoniceva's 300th NRL game against South Sydney on Friday night.
While Parker and inspirational skipper Sam Thaiday (shoulder) were both given the green light, prop Ben Hannant was not so fortunate, succumbing to a thigh strain robbing him of the chance to share in Civoniceva's big night at Suncorp Stadium.
Bullocking young prop Josh McGuire, originally named at lock, moves into the front-row with Parker returning to his No.13 spot.
Parker was probably the only person who thought he could play so soon after slicing his lower left leg to the shin bone in last week's second State of Origin game in Sydney.
"No, I didn't (expect him to be playing) when I saw him last Wednesday night," admitted Broncos coach Anthony Griffin.
"(But) that doesn't surprise me with Corey, I've just got so much respect for him the way he looks after himself physically and rehabs himself.
"He always turns a five or a six week injury into three or a four week injury with his thumb and his knee in the past and he's done it again."
Parker turned up at Red Hill at 7.30am on Thursday to do some goal kicking practice before training with the side.
He'll wear a special shin guard and strap his lower leg but expects to play major minutes and have goal-kicking duties.
Griffin said Parker knew his body and wouldn't play if he was a risk of letting his teammates down.
"He's got a guard and all those things. The doctors, Peter Myers (specialist) and our club doctor have given him the all clear," he said.
"He can cop a whack on it, the risk of infection is gone, the cut didn't touch any muscles or tendons, so he's right to go."
Parker's late inclusion gives him a chance to press his claims for Wednesday week's Origin decider in Brisbane.
McGuire will relish the opportunity to start up front against a big, aggressive South Sydney pack.
"He's going great. He's carried the team the last couple of weeks playing 70 minutes both weeks," said Griffin.
"He gets another job to do tomorrow night which is good for him."
Griffin said Souths had found some good rhythm after winning seven of their last nine games with Greg Inglis adding a new dimension to their dangerous attack from fullback.
"His first game at fullback was when we played them in Perth and we got a good look at him after he cut us to pieces in the first 20 minutes," he said.
"We're obviously going to have to do a very good job on him and restrict his opportunities.
"Last week we gave (Johnathan) Thurston and (Matt) Bowen too many sets in our end through our own errors so we can't give them that many opportunities."