Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Nerves Won't Stop Douglas

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Nerves Won't Stop Douglas

Article excerpt

Byline: Juris Graney

WITH a grand final berth on the line tonight, you can understand why Yamba's Luke Douglas is a bit nervous, but realistically he shouldn't be.

After all, the Cronulla Sharks prop is a proven performer in the NRL.

Amazingly, the 192cm former Lower Clarence Magpies forward hasn't missed a game since his round two debut against the Brisbane Broncos in 2006.

That's 74 consecutive games in an amazing stretch unhindered by injury or suspension, a testament to his discipline both on and off the field.

For most league players, that many games uninterrupted is unheard of, for a prop in the toughest league competition in the world, doubly so.

But what is statistically more astounding, this year Douglas is leading his team in hit ups and tackles proving his value to the team.

"I think I have just been lucky with injuries really. I try to prepare well and I see the physio when ever I can but mostly it is just luck," Douglas told The Daily Examiner on the eve of the preliminary final against the Melbourne Storm.

To make the grand final in two weeks time, the Sharks must overcome the defending premiers smarting after the suspension of their captain Cameron Smith on Wednesday night.

The Storm were left shell-shocked after the news and adds further concern to their premiership credentials after going down to the New Zealand Warriors a fortnight ago and escaping defeat last weekend against the Brisbane Broncos in a style that would have had David Blaine grinning.

All the while, the Sharks have been quietly circling the so-called 'competition favourites'.

At the start of the year, most people wrote off the Sharks as pretenders who favoured the beach lifestyle to playing football.

That is the case no more.

After dispatching Canberra in the first semi-final, the Sharks have sat back and watched the competition belt each other about.

Now it is Dougo's turn to do the bashing.

"At the start of the year we struggled to put points on the board, we might have struggled a little bit, but defensively we are as good as anyone else and we have come good at the right end of the season," he said. …

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