Departing Canterbury second-rower Frank Pritchard will play the rest of the NRL season with the aid of painkilling injections as he aims to fulfil his premiership dream.
Pritchard is expected to return for Friday night’s crucial clash against Brisbane after missing last week’s defeat to the Sydney Roosters with a rib injury.
The Hull FC-bound forward sustained the knock against Cronulla in round 20 and was supposed to be sidelined for a month, but Pritchard confirmed he would be available for selection on Tuesday.
“The [ribs] are all good. They weren’t right, but one week off is all I need,” he said.
“I thought they were broken, but scans showed they weren’t, just a small fracture so I managed to get out of the woods there.
“I would’ve been very devastated if I was ruled out for the year, but a couple of little needles will fix it up, numb it up.”
Pritchard was part of the club’s losing grand final sides against Melbourne in 2012 and South Sydney in 2014.
He was also part of the Penrith squad that won the 2003 premiership in his rookie season, but was left out of the grand final side.
Now with the Bulldogs precariously placed in eighth spot, Pritchard said he was determined to have one final shot at winning that elusive premiership ring before departing the NRL.
“It’ll mean the world [to have one last big run],” he said.
“To make grand finals in 2012 and 2014 and lose them, it was pretty tough.
“To play all year and make it only to miss the last hurdle is pretty upsetting, so I’ll try everything I can to get there.”
The 31-year-old also revealed how a desire to ensure the club kept a hold of its rising talents swayed him into taking an early release to move to the Super League.
The Bulldogs re-signed teammate Sam Kasiano to a new contract earlier this year, while the club has already opened negotiations to extend the deals of Moses Mbye, David Klemmer and Josh Jackson.
“I wouldn’t like to see Moses Mbye play at another club. Same goes for Josh Jackson, Dave Klemmer,” he said.
“They have a good bunch of young boys coming through, but it’s unfortunate there’s not enough money in the salary cap to keep them. So if [me leaving] meant freeing up the cap to keep those guys, then so be it.
“I’ve taken Moses under my wing a little bit and he’s starting to come out of his shell too much now, but he’s a good young kid.
“He’s been awesome for the club and they need to do everything they can to keep him.”