Star halfback Mitchell Pearce could make a shock return from a hamstring injury for Sydney Roosters in their NRL qualifying final against Melbourne on Friday.
Pearce was expected to miss up to six weeks after suffering the injury in the Roosters’ win over Brisbane three weeks ago.
However Tricolours coach Trent Robinson revealed on Thursday the injury was healing faster than expected and the NSW Origin halfback was a chance to play against the Storm.
“I am hoping he might. I haven’t stood here and said he is going to play, I am hoping that he might,” Robinson said.
“He progressed pretty quickly at the start of the week. It is something we don’t want to risk but we will see.”
Robinson said Pearce’s inclusion for the Allianz Stadium clash would depend on how well he fared at training on Thursday.
“He is pretty good, we will see how he runs today, he is a small chance.”
However confirmation on whether he will play of not will probably not come until one hour before the 7.55pm kickoff on Friday when teams are required to be named.
Jackson Hastings has filled in at halfback in Pearce’s absence and Robinson indicated the young playmaker would remain in the side on the interchange bench if Pearce was fit.
Storm skipper Cameron Smith has battled illness this week, but he flew with his team to Sydney on Thursday and was expected to play.
“I’m not too concerned, I think Cam will be playing,” Robinson said.