Junior Warriors battled through injury for NYC win
Following a Grand Final Day which was headlined by the bravery of Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess, two members of the victorious Junior Warriors side have revealed their own tales of courage on the ANZ Stadium turf.
Inside the opening 10 minutes of the 34-32 Holden Cup Grand Final victory over the Broncos, prop Kouma Samson reeled away from a tackle with a suspected broken collarbone, while halfback Mason Lino suffered a partial dislocation [subluxation] of his right shoulder.
Both remained on the field, propping up their side who struggled to hold on in the closing stages as they battled against temperatures which hit 30 degrees and above.
Speaking to NRL.com upon the team's return to Auckland on Monday afternoon, Lino said leaving the field was never really an option in what was his 62nd and last NYC game before heading to France to play for AS Carcassonne.
Instead he remained on the field to set up two tries and kick five from six attempts at goal, which ultimately proved the difference between his side and the fast-finishing Broncos.
"It popped out and I popped it back in, I didn't want to come off so I had to keep playing," Lino said.
"At first our physio asked if I could still move it, he told if it was bad to come off but I gave it a set and ran it off.
"I was [sore at the time] but the adrenalin got me through, but it is pretty sore now.
"Seven minutes after I got injured we lost our hooker [Kurt Robinson] and I thought 'damn, I can't go off now."
Team physiotherapist John Love said it was the second time Lino had suffered the injury this season, but was confident in allowing him to play on.
"We knew there was a risk it could happen again. It had been good but unfortunately it went out in that tackle," Love said.
"We knew we couldn't really do any more damage by playing through it and he was able to move it well.
"As the game progressed he got better and better, probably the pain would have been worse if he had lost."
Meanwhile front-rower Samson said he had to rely on help from his fellow forwards on defence, as his technique suffered due to the painful collarbone injury which occurred in his very first tackle of the match.
"I had an injection at half-time and at the moment it's OK, it should be alright," said Samson, who still managed to clock up 17 tackles and 56 run metres.
"It didn't go into my head to go off but I knew my contact in defence wouldn't be as good, but after half-time it felt brand new and I managed to get back into the game."
The grand final victory was the final game in the National Youth Competition for 10 of the 17 players who took the field for the Junior Warriors, while coach Stacey Jones will take charge of the club's NSW Cup team from next year onwards after one season with the Holden Cup outfit.