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Manly's Fa'aoso upbeat despite broken neck

Richie Fa'aoso

For a man with a broken neck and broken grand final dreams, Manly prop Richie Fa'aoso was in a remarkably positive frame of mind at Brookvale Oval on Monday.
Manly's Fa'aoso upbeat despite broken neck
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, Sept 30 AAP - For a man with a broken neck and broken grand final dreams, Manly prop Richie Fa'aoso was in a remarkably positive frame of mind at Brookvale Oval on Monday.

Diagnosed with a fractured C7 vertebrae suffered in Friday night's preliminary final win over South Sydney, Fa'aoso refused to mope as he talked about missing the biggest game of the year.

Rather, the 29-year-old could hardy have been happier for his teammates, who he posed with as part of the team photo - decked out in jumper, shorts, boots and neck brace.

"Bloody oath - I'll be jumping on that bandwagon," Fa'aoso said when asked if he would be embracing the grand final build-up.

"There's no use complaining about it, no-one really cares anyway.

"I was upset for a bit, but you can't dwell on that stuff. That's what happens in football. I'm just grateful to be part of such a great team."

Fa'aoso put his unfortunate circumstance down to footballing fate, just as he did when handed a grand final start with Melbourne in 2012 after prop Jason Ryles suffered a late-season hamstring injury.

"This is my time to get a bit of my own back," Fa'aoso said.

"I thought my luck's got to run out some time here. Unfortunately it was this year."

He has been ordered to rest his neck for three months before a decision is made on his playing future.

He is determined to continue his career into 2014, but is prepared for the worst.

"I'm fully confident I'll be right next year, but if I'm not, that's footy," he said.

"I just go on with the next chapter of my life."

As upbeat as Fa'aoso was, his teammates were bitterly disappointed for him.

To a man their mood dropped when the plight of their teammate was raised.

"He doesn't deserve that," back-rower Anthony Watmough said.

"He's been a big part of our team, massive for us coming off the bench.

"When I messaged him on Saturday to see how he was and he said he had a little fracture there, it was pretty heartbreaking.

"He's become a good mate of ours since he's been here, he's a good bloke.

"He's a good leader when he gets on the field for us, he loves doing the tough stuff.

"Whoever steps in for him, they've got to do a job and pick up where he left off."

That shapes as either James Hasson or David Gower, with coach Geoff Toovey saying a decision was unlikely until later in the week.




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