Luke Priddis fears being the odd man out

Luke Priddis’ greatest fear is that he might be playing on borrowed time. The veteran No.9 is one of three players – alongside Dean Young and Nathan Fien – fighting for two dummy-half spots in the St George Illawarra 17, but at 33 years of age he appears to be down the wrong end of the pecking order as the Dragons gear up for their premiership surge.<br><br>Two weeks ago Priddis was dumped in favour of Fien – finally back from a broken leg sustained in Round 1 – for the win over Sydney Roosters and only received a reprieve against Manly last Monday after halfback Ben Hornby was ruled out through illness.<br><br>Ask about his plans beyond 2010 and he replies “still thinking”, but the motivation is clear: Priddis wants one more shot at glory before he calls it quits.<br><br>“I’m a bit disappointed but that’s the way the dice is rolled at the moment,” he told NRL.com after being named on the bench for Sunday’s trip to Canberra. <br><br>“I’ve got to keep hanging in there and hopefully get the finish that I’m after. You play all year to play in the big games. <br><br>“Obviously last week the big fella upstairs decided that he wanted me in the side somewhere.<br><br>“I’m not wishing any bad luck on anyone else but I’ll do my best for the side and if I get the opportunity to play I’ll take that opportunity.”<br><br>It would prove a cruel twist of fate should Priddis find himself absent come September after playing such a huge role in the Dragons’ charge to the top of the NRL ladder this season.<br><br>Twelve months ago it appeared that the former Canberra, Brisbane and Penrith hooker’s career was set to finish at 295 games after coach Wayne Bennett hinted that he might be past his prime.<br><br>Instead, Priddis played on and his decision paid dividends for both he and the Dragons when Fien suffered a badly broken leg against Parramatta in the opening round.<br><br>Ironically, it is Fien’s return two weeks ago that now threatens to sideline Priddis at the business end of the season.<br><br>Unfair? <br><br>“Yes and no,” Priddis said. “I obviously got my opportunity to play because Nathan was injured in the first game of the year but I think I played some pretty consistent football after that as well. <br><br>“I’ve just got to keep plugging away, keep my chin up at training and see what happens over the next couple of weeks.<br><br>“But it has made things more difficult for me, yeah.” <br><br>Priddis or no Priddis, the Dragons can expect to have a huge say in who will join them in the finals come September with games against finals aspirants Canberra, Newcastle and South Sydney looming over the next three weeks<br><br>The Raiders and Rabbitohs remain locked on 24 points – one win outside the eight – and must win all three remaining games to secure a finals berth while Newcastle sit two points further adrift and are at least a mathematical hope of stealing a spot should they finish the year on a high.<br><br>“Potentially they’ll all be pretty desperate so I think it’s a pretty good draw for us heading into the finals,” Priddis said.<br><br>“I think that to go on and do well in the finals you need to be playing well over the final few rounds and over the past two weeks the boys have steadily improved. <br><br>“Canberra will be another good test for us this week. <br><br>“The fact that they’re trying to get themselves a spot in the top eight, they won’t hold anything back. <br><br>“That’s something we’ll be facing from now on – we’re guaranteed a finals position but we’re going to be playing a lot of desperate sides which is good for us.<br><br>“They’re the games we probably need to be playing.”<br>