DESPERATION is driving Young lock Matt Wakefield to do whatever possible to ensure he recovers from injury to play against Kangaroos in Wagga on Saturday.
With Young locked in a bitter scrap for a spot in the Group Nine final five, Wakefield admits he is facing a personal battle to take on Roos at Equex Centre.
“Honestly, I’m 50-50,” Wakefield said.
“I’ve got a hamstring strain. It’s not a tear which would have been worse.
“I’ve twinged it more than anything else, and I’m going to do everything I can to play.”
A casualty of Young’s brave 28-24 victory over Cootamundra at Alfred Oval on Sunday, Wakefield will have several rounds of treatment in coming days in a bid to overcome the injury.
After scoring two tries to spearhead Young to a commanding 28-6 lead, Wakefield was forced off the ground in the second half with the hamstring problem.
Along with Young captain-coach Luke Branighan, the barnstorming back rower watched from the bench as the Bulldogs scored three straight tries to fall menacingly short of their target.
Heading into the critical game against Kangaroos, Wakefield is intent on working overtime to try to play.
“Yeah, I’m keen to be there,” Wakefield said.
“It’s pretty obvious we need win on Saturday, and keep winning.
“If we win our last four games we’ll make it (finals).
“We won’t have to worry about other results.”
Four games out from the semis, Young is fifth on the ladder, but level with fourth-place Southcity and Albury (sixth) on 18 points.
The three teams are also only two points astern of Kangaroos (third), with Cootamundra (seventh) still in the hunt on 17 points.
For Wakefield, Saturday’s game is the perfect chance for Young to set the record straight after losing 24-10 to Roos on May 9.
Two months on, Wakefield has no doubt the Cherrypickers should have beaten Roos the last time they played.
“It was 10-all at half-time and we should have scored another four tries at least,” he said.
As Wakefield goes all out play, Young will be without skipper Branighan, who is sidelined with a recurring calf-muscle injury.
In a selection shock, Branighan installed rookie Chris Campbell at halfback alongside Warren Aiken in the halves.
Rather than tinker further with the team, Branighan has retained Tui Samoa at fullback and English gun Neil Thorman at hooker.
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