Brisbane's Meg Ward will play in the NRLW grand final against the Sydney Roosters with a fractured hand as she resumes hostilities with opposing centre Isabelle Kelly.
Ward suffered the injury early in the round-two win over the Roosters. She felt the pain but played through the match before sitting out last weekend's win over the Warriors.
The 24-year-old RAAF firefighter got through a full training session on Tuesday night and will play through the pain at ANZ Stadium.
"There is a little fracture but it is manageable. Just strap it up, and it will be fine. I’ll deal with it after," Ward said.
"I was pretty confident from the start that I was going to push through it. If it was anything bigger or I thought I was going to let the team down in any way I wouldn’t be out there.
“There is pain there but it is bearable. When you go into a game you don’t want to go in soft so I told the girls to run hard at me [at training] and they did, and I pulled up fine. We are all ready to go and we are really excited.”
Excited too for the challenge of marking dangerous Jillaroos star Kelly.
Ward lined up at centre against Kelly for Queensland against NSW earlier this year and conceded her opponent got the better of her. It was a different story in the round two clash with the Roosters where Ward, who played the opening game of the Holden Women’s Premiership on the wing, did an outstanding job containing Kelly.
"In State of Origin she definitely got the better of me and I learned so much from that game and took it into that last Roosters game," Ward said.
"The biggest thing is that she is such a fast, agile player and you can’t give her space and time. If you can get in her face and shut her down earlier it makes it a lot easier but she is one of those unpredictable players who can make something out of nothing.
"She is an awesome player and you just have to grit your teeth and go out hard against a player like her so I am really excited for the clash."
Ward said she had full confidence in the players around her that the Roosters would not be given as much time and space as the Dragons did last week, where Kelly was pivotal in setting up her winger Taleena Simon, who scored four tries.
"I will have Amelia Kuk outside me who I have played with so many times as a centre/winger [combination]. Usually I am the winger so we have changed it up this time," Ward said.
"I am so excited to play with her. Our comms are really good and we work real well together so I think me and her are definitely up for the challenge. We are ready for it."
Ready too for a history-making moment in the women’s game.
"I am just so excited to be in the first ever women’s grand final. What a moment for girls’ rugby league," Ward said.
"To go out there with my Broncos family and wear the jersey, I am really grateful and really excited. I won’t be thinking about my hand. The main thing is to just get out there and get the job done."
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