Three weeks ago a knee injury threatened to derail Jake Dooley’s season and hopes of winning back-to-back premierships with the Bulls.
The Southcity fullback watched on in a brace as his side downed Tumut in the final round of the season and few gave him a chance of playing again this year.
However Dooley was determined to play finals football.
Seeking specialist advice on his troublesome knee, the 25-year-old was given the all clear to give it a shot and has proven his fitness in time for the grand final clash with Gundagai on Saturday.
He’s thrilled to be able to take on the Tigers.
“Three weeks ago no one gave me a chance but I worked hard every day with rehab and now it is coming good,” Dooley said.
“It should be 100 per cent.”
Trouble with his knee started in the pre-season but really came to a head late in the season.
Advised to sit out the round 15 clash with Junee, Dooley took to the field at Harris Park and it almost came unstuck.
“It’s been a problem all year,” Dooley said.
“In pre-season I had about four weeks off training and played all year with a niggle and didn’t know what it was.
“I was going to have the week off against Junee, decided to play and hurt it in the last 10 minutes.
“I wasn’t going to play again this year but I saw the specialist last Monday and he said it wasn’t as bad as other people had said.
“He gave me the all clear.”
Dooley has had a big season for the club.
He’s the competition’s leading tryscorer, crossing 21 times in 15 games and is out to add more to his tally at Equex Centre.
Dooley is looking to make it three grand final wins from four attempts on Saturday and can’t wait to get out there.
“I’m stoked and it should be a good game,” he said.
“Just making the grand final is good so I want to enjoy it.”
He won his first premiership with hometown club Parkes in 2013 and then was part of the Spacemen’s loss the year later.
He was then part of Southcity’s win last year after making the move across from Kangaroos.
The switch has definitely worked out well.
“It has been good and I’ve enjoyed being at Southcity,” he said. “It’s a good team which makes it pretty easy and I think I’ve been playing my best footy, I’ve been trying to anyway.”
Barring any more damage, the 25-year-old doesn’t expect to need surgery.
“I’m just going to play the grand final, get through it and it should heal itself,” he said. “There’s no need for surgery at the moment you the surgeon said it was up to me.”