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Matai will never 'fully recover'

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Rambo1987, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. Rambo1987

    Rambo1987 Well-Known Member

    +241 /2
    Matai will never 'fully recover'
    Article from: Font size: Decrease Increase Email article: Email Print article: Print Submit comment: Submit comment By John Marsh

    February 25, 2009 12:00am

    TOUGH Manly centre Steve Matai has been told he won't ever fully recover from the neck and shoulder injuries which almost wrecked his 2008 season.

    But Matai has vowed not to hold back in the World Club Challenge clash with Leeds on Monday (AEDT) as he bids for a third major title in five months.

    As coach Des Hasler prepares to name a side including back-from-oblivion prop George Rose for the Elland Road showdown, Matai sought advice from team doctor Paul Bloomfield following training.

    The New Zealand World Cup winner made a big impact off the bench in Sunday's warm up win over Harlequins, scoring a tearaway try, but said: "I spoke to the medical staff after Sunday's game and they've said there's a lot of scar tissue around there.

    "It's never going to be 100 per cent. It's just something we are going to have to manage.''

    Matai admitted he was in "quite a bit'' of pain during his NRL finals and World Cup campaigns last season, which each netted him winner's medals. "I was getting needled every now and then with the shoulder, the neck was never 100 per cent,'' he said.

    "It's coming along well (now). Like today, I can't really go 100 per cent. I just have to do the best I can in the gym and hopefully get the strength up. The best test for it is to go out there and go hard. I did that on the weekend and I'm hoping to do it this weekend as well.''

    Matai hosed down speculation over his rematch with Leeds and former England centre Keith Senior, with whom he traded blows in Wellington during the 2006 Tri-Nations. Fans hoping for fireworks are unlikely to be rewarded, he predicted.

    "Not at all - what happened in that game a while ago, that was just heat of the moment,'' Matai said. "We're both great competitors and that shows on the field.''

    As expected, Leeds have lost hooker Danny Buderus (knee) while halfbak Rob Burrow (back) is also in dire doubt. Ali Lauititi (hamstring), Carl Ablett (niggling injuries), Lee Smith and Ryan Bailey (both concussion) are also on the casualty list.

    Hasler has declined to name his side until a Thursday media conference but it's understood Rose - whose career was at the crossroads a year ago due to a spate of injuries - is pushing hard for a bench spot. The rest of the line-up is relatively settled.

    The coach was gracious in accepting the decision of the Australia Rugby League to appoint Tim Sheens ahead of him as national coach.

    "I couldn't be happier for Tim,'' Hasler said. "He's been coach for a long time, done it all, certainly has the experience needed. Well done to him.''

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