Cutters skipper proves Championship fitness
Illawarra Cutter captain Tyrone McCarthy is set to take his place in the Intrust Super Championship game against the Burleigh Bears on Sunday afternoon.
McCarthy tore his quadriceps in the warm up to the Cutters' Intrust Super Premiership preliminary final win over the Wests Tigers but still managed to play the past fortnight including the Intrust Super Premiership Grand Final.
McCarthy could hardly walk after the Cutters' 21-20 win over Mounties but coach Jason Demetriou said he proved his fitness at Thursday night's training.
Demetriou was the man responsible for bringing McCarthy to Australia initially where they helped the Northern Pride win the inaugural State Championship in 2014.
"Tyrone's one of the mentally-toughest people I've come across in my time. He made huge sacrifices to come over from England and for a lot less money than what he could've stayed for," Demetriou told NRL.com.
"He's really inspired a lot of people and he keeps putting his hand up for the boys. That's why it's so important to have him on the field.
"He'll be good to go. He had a similar week to the one he had last week. He's keen to play," he added.
"Tyrone was pretty sore after the grand final and I wasn't sure he'd get there but he felt better the day after and he was better again on Tuesday so he'll be ready."
Demetriou labelled the Intrust Super Championship as a unique occasion considering they and the Bears have already won their respective competitions this year.
After celebrating their success accordingly earlier in the week, the Cutters will have trained just twice before the game but in Demetriou they have a mentor in big game experience.
Demetriou will be present at ANZ Stadium for his third-consecutive grand final day following his success with the Pride and as an assistant coach of the Cowboys last year.
"For us it's about respecting the occasion and the event. You're playing against the best team in Queensland to determine who is the best outside of the NRL. It's a huge game, in front of a big crowd and we're fortunate to be playing," Demetriou said.
"Grand final day is special. From the bus when you're driving in, you can see the ground in sight. You get a good feel of the buzz around the place and it's a day like no other on the Australian rugby league calendar.
"When they get out on to the field it'll be like nothing they have ever experienced before and something they'll remember for the rest of their careers."