Widdop Favourite To Play In Finals Opener

Melbourne - Brett Finch picBy STEVE MASCORD

MELBOURNE received a finals-eve boost when injured five-eighth Brett Finch trained with his team-mates but Gareth Widdop remains favourite to fill the five-eighth role against South Sydney.

Finch suffered an AC shoulder joint injury last Saturday against Gold Coast and was rated at long odds to play in the qualifying final at ANZ Stadium. However, he took to AAMI Park for a match-eve training session following a week of intense medical treatment.

“Finchy and Gaz trained, they both trained in that five-eighth position so we’re not sure,” second rower Ryan Hoffman told reporters.

“The decision has got to be made yet. They’re both fit, they’re both raring to go.”

Asked if Finch was able to tackle at training, Hoffman said: “He was doing some when I came in but, yeah, he was doing some tackling.”

South Sydney have their own injury concern, with interchange forward Jason Clark suffering a knee injury at training on Tuesday.

Hoffman said there was no ill-feeling towards Rabbits lock Sam Burgess, who was suspended for executing a ‘squirrel grip’ on Will Chambers the last time the sides played.

“Sam Burgess is one of the best players in our game,” said Hoffman.

“He plays it hard. He’s got no malice in his game. I just think he plays it really tough and they’re the kind of people we want playing rugby league.

“We know he’s doing everything he can to win for Souths and that’s his job for them.”

Filed for: THE AGE

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