FOUR days after being carried from ANZ Stadium on a medicab after a spectacular aerial collision, Melbourne Storm winger Sisa Waqa is to be named in the side to play Newcastle in Saturday’s sudden death finals series game.
The Fijian flanker was fitted with a neck brace after face-planting on the turf when he came into contact with South Sydney’s Dylan Farrell on Friday night.
“He’ll probably be in the side tomorrow night,” a Storm spokesman said late Monday.
“It’s pretty remarkable but he didn’t get a concussion out of the incident and he’s passed all the tests on his back and neck. Sisa looks OK.”
Farrell was controversially placed on report over the collision, which appeared to be an accident, but on Monday escaped being charged.
One man who is yet to be passed fit for Saturday night’s preliminary semi-final at AAMI Park is five-eighth Brett Finch, who has shoulder and sternum problems. Gareth Widdop, who returned from a dislocated hip in Friday night’s defeat, would almost certainly be selected ahead of Finch in any case.
“Gareth’s been part of this system for a long time and I don’t think that’s an excuse and I don’t think it contributed to the result,” halfback Cooper Cronk told reporters.
Cronk was not willing to make any predictions about how the premiers would bounce back from Friday’s defeat.
“I can sit here and tell everyone we’re OK and we’ve regrouped but the performance will tell if we have or not,” he said.
“There’s no doubt we let an opportunity slip but I’ve seen people in Formula One win a race from not being in pole position.
“This club’s success has been built on hard work and that’s what we have to do this week.
“We’re in total control of our performance and that’s the way we approach it.
“We’re aware of … (Newcastle’s) … abilities. We’ve had two close encounters over the course of this year.”
Cronk was asked about claims by North Queensland captain Johnathan Thurston of a pro-Sydney bias in the NRL.
“It’s nice to have a bit more support north of the border with Jonathan and the Cowboys,” he said.
“We thank them for that. Look, obviously they were involved in a game an emotionally disappointed two years in a row. They’re entitled to opinions but we’ve still got a place to play in these finals.
“The way we play football, we do everything we possibly can and take everything else (out of the equation).”
Filed for: THE AGE