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Stewart, Carney face fitness race

Brett Stewart

One was named and the other left out but NRL stars Brett Stewart and Todd Carney both face a race against time to overcome hamstring injuries ahead of Friday night's NRL sudden death final at Allianz Stadium.
Stewart, Carney face fitness race
by AAP

By Laine Clark and Adrian Warren

BRISBANE, Sept 17 AAP - One was named and the other left out but NRL stars Brett Stewart and Todd Carney both face a race against time to overcome hamstring injuries ahead of Friday night's NRL sudden death final at Allianz Stadium.

Cronulla playmaker Carney will be monitored during the week despite not being included in the Sharks' line-up for the showdown with Manly's "50-50" prospect Stewart.

However, a Sharks official admitted they were not holding their breath on the NSW Origin pivot receiving the green light in what would be a huge blow to their title hopes.

"Sharks medical staff will continue to work on the injury (but) he is not expected to be fit in time for the match on Friday night," the official said.

Utility Luke Lewis has been named as Sharks five-eighth.

Manly pivot Kieran Foran expected Carney to play but could not say the same about teammate Stewart, despite the livewire being named as the Sea Eagles' starting fullback.

Stewart completed sprint work at training on Tuesday before the media was ushered away but Foran only rated him a "50-50" chance.

"He's been getting treatment on it and he's improving day by day so we'll just have to wait and see," Foran said.

On standby for Stewart is Sea Eagles rookie of the year Peta Hiku.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey also named Richie Fa'aoso on a seven man bench just days after the prop was taken from the field with a heavy head knock against the Roosters.

Meanwhile, Melbourne have confirmed Sisa Waqa will run out in Saturday night's home finals clash with Newcastle - but not before expressing disappointment over the TV coverage of his horror aerial collision against South Sydney.

While Storm physio Tony Ayoub was thankful Waqa did not even suffer a concussion in the accidental contact, he was not happy with Channel Nine upsetting the winger's family by showing the footage over and over on Friday night.

"It was very confronting especially for his family," he told the Storm website.

"Especially with the TV replaying it and replaying it which was a bit disappointing given that his wife and kids were watching.

"She (Waqa's wife) was pretty distraught when I spoke to her even an hour later."

English international Gareth Widdop was named as Melbourne starting pivot after returning from a dislocated hip against the Rabbitohs last round.

"There was a bit of controversy about him (returning last round) but he was never going to miss more than 12 weeks - we expect him to go ahead in leaps and bounds from here," Ayoub said.

Veteran playmaker Brett Finch (sternum) is on the Storm bench after being a last minute scratching last round.

Meanwhile, Knights coach Wayne Bennett named an unchanged 17 without Craig Gower (neck).


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