Newcastle Rugby League: Central halfback Brad Murray in doubt for minor semi-final with hamstring injury

INJURED STAR: Kurri Kurri fullback Kade Hardy's season came to end when he broke his ankle in last Saturday's elimination final. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
INJURED STAR: Kurri Kurri fullback Kade Hardy's season came to end when he broke his ankle in last Saturday's elimination final. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Kurri didn’t train on Tuesday, instead they visited fullback Kade Hardy following his season-ending injury.

Hardy broke and dislocated his ankle midway through Saturday’s 39-12 win over the Pickers at Maitland.

“He [Hardy] needed us more than we needed to train,” Kurri coach Ron Griffiths said ahead of the Bulldogs minor semi-final game against Central Newcastle at Kurri Kurri Sportsground on Saturday. 

Lachlan Hill is expected to be called up for the Bulldogs, who are featuring in the club’s first finals series since making the decider in 2013.

The Bulldogs have lost their two encounters against Central this year, 18-0 at Kurri on July 28 and 26-16 at Central in round four, but are the form team heading into week two of the finals.

Kurri have now equalled the best winning streak in first grade this season with five on the trot following Saturday’s elimination semi-final success over the Pickers at Maitland. 

Apart from Hardy, they are expected to be at full fitness.

Their opponents on Saturday are going into the game with an injury cloud over star halfback Brad Murray.

Murray will be given until match eve to be ready for Saturday’s do-or-die finals clash  against Kurri Kurri.

The injured pivot didn’t return for the second half of the weekend’s 46-12 loss to Souths at St John Oval, icing his troubled hamstring on the bench.

Butcher Boys coach Craig Miller said he was unsure whether Murray would play the minor semi-final or join the club’s mounting casualty ward, including most recent addition prop Dane Cordner (groin) from Sunday. 

INJURY: Central halfback Brad Murray will be racing the clock to be fit for Saturday's minor semi-final against the Bulldogs at Kurri Sportsground. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

INJURY: Central halfback Brad Murray will be racing the clock to be fit for Saturday's minor semi-final against the Bulldogs at Kurri Sportsground. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

“It’s not really good,” Miller said.

“We’ll give him [Murray] every chance, up until training on Friday, but we’re not really sure if he’ll play.

“We rolled the dice a bit last weekend, but now it’s do-or-die. It’s inch by inch for us at the moment.”  

Miller already shuffled the decks in the qualifying semi-final with regular five-eighth Terence Seu Seu replacing Cody Bryant (knee) at hooker, which followed a broken leg suffered by dummy-half Bryce Kennedy a week earlier in the last round.

“We’re pretty wounded. We’re in hell right now. But we won’t give up. We must choose to fight,” Miller said.

The Maitland Pickers reserves and under-19s continue their finals campaigns on the weekend.

The Pickers under-19s platy Western Suburbs in Sunday’s qualifying final at Cahill Oval from 10.50am.

Maitland’s reserves meet South Newcastle in Saturday’s must-win minor semi-final at 1.30pm. Kurri plays Macquarie in open grade from 12.10pm.