OLD Bar's injury woes have been somewhat alleviated with news that prop Jared Wooster could be back for the Group Three Rugby League semi-finals.
Wooster's season looked to be over when he was injured in the opening minute of the game against Macleay Valley at fortnight ago. It was feared he had broken a bone in his foot, however he has since been cleared.
"He's going to try and have a run on it this week, but he definitely won't be playing against Forster on Sunday,'' co-captain-coach Mick Henry said.
"We should have him back before the semi-finals though, fingers crossed.''
Utility Toby De Stefano looks to be making a quick recovery from a cheekbone fracture and should also return for the playoffs. Co-captain-coach Jordan Worboys is out for possibly three to six weeks as he undergoes rehab on a dislocated shoulder, however, a knee problem looks likely to keep winger Joe Hinton on the sideline for the immediate future.
Henry will also check the fitness of prop Will Clarke (groin) and five-eighth Kurt Lewis (hamstring) before settling on the side to meet the Hawks. He was reasonably confident both will play.
Henry concedes the Pirates have a tough run to the finals, playing the Hawks at Tuncurry, Port Sharks at home, Port City in a deferred game at Port before finishing with Taree City at home.
"We'd like to finish second, but we really want to lock in third,'' Henry said.
This would ensure a home semi-final, probably against Port Sharks. He added officials from both clubs will look at the viability of playing the postponed game against Port City.
"If they can't get beaten for first and we're right for third, we might look at sharing the points and not play the match,'' he said.
The Pirates trail Forster by one and are four clear of Port Sharks, although the Sharks have games against Taree City and Macleay in hand that they should win.
Henry said the performance of interchange forward, Thomas 'Daisy' Berry against Wauchope last week was a revelation. Berry returned to football this year.
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"He's a bigger body and he had some strong carries,'' Henry said.
"Daisy also gives us a bit of size.''
He said he wouldn't look for big minutes out of Berry, but said he can do a job from the bench in the games ahead.
Forster-Tuncurry captain-coach Nathan Campbell said the Hawks should be back at full strength for the clash after seven first graders missed the last gasp 36-34 win over Macleay Valley last weekend.
The Hawks trailed for most of the contest before veteran winger Dan Lawton scored from an Ashton Hilder kick in the final minute.
Hilder plays in the club's under 18s and was making his first grade debut.
The Hawks haven't lost a game since going down to the Pirates on a boggy surface at the Trad Field at Old Bar on June 4. With games against Old Bar (home), Wingham (home) and Wauchope (away),Campbell said the Hawks have some work to do yet before they can claim second.
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