Roosters winger Daniel Tupou has made himself available for Saturday night's preliminary final against the Cowboys despite aggravating a groin injury during his side's nervy win over the Broncos a fortnight ago.
The 26-year-old suffered the original injury midway through the second half of his side's Round 22 loss to the Sea Eagles and was kept under cotton wool until the finals series with coach Trent Robinson choosing to ease him back into action off the bench rather than expose him to the frenetic pace of the opening exchanges.
Tupou came on with eight minutes remaining in the opening week of the finals and immediately sent a scare through the Roosters camp when he winced in pain as he brought the ball out of his own end and into the teeth of Brisbane's defence.
Despite the discomfort, he was able to see out the game and is confident he will be good to go after a week's rest should Robinson select him on the wing for the sudden death clash with the Cowboys.
"The injury is coming along well. It's just a bit of scar tissue that opened up that aggravated it on the field and caused me a bit of pain. Whether I get named in the squad this week, we'll just have to wait and see," Tupou told NRL.com.
"It felt like I'd redone it but I guess you can't re-tear what's already torn. It was pretty painful as everyone probably saw on TV by my reaction, but the physio got me through it and I was able to finish the game.
"I've been getting more and more confident getting through the pain barrier with my scar tissue. I trained well today and I trained really well on Friday which was a bit of a surprise for the staff to see. My jump is getting back to its best so the next goal is hitting full speed at a comfortable level to get me ready for Saturday."
Tupou – who had been expected to return a week earlier for the Round 26 game against the Titans – showed tremendous courage to dive on a loose ball as the Broncos were peppering the Roosters' line in a play that all but secured his side's 24-22 win.
"I had to either trap the kick or get on the loose ball. I was obviously in a bit of pain but I knew I had to do something or they'd probably score," he said.
"It was an overwhelming feeling when I got on top of it and I made sure I took my time to get up before I played the ball."
It might have been a short stint but Tupou is glad that his coach gave him a chance to test himself in proper match conditions.
"I was really glad I got through that five-minute period," he said.
"Robbo told me that he'd put me on – even if it was just for a couple of minutes – just so I could get a feel for it out in the middle to get me mentally and physically prepared for the next game.
"Even though I was only on for a few minutes, it was a huge confidence boost for me to be out there and it felt good to be surrounded by the boys."
Injuries have been few and far between for Tupou since he tore his latissimus dorsi muscle in 2014, and the representative winger admitted his recent setback was a cruel blow given his outstanding form in 2017.
"It was a setback after that Manly game and I didn't think the healing process would take that long," he lamented.
"It did play on my mind a bit and I'm quite relieved that I'm back on the field, although I know I have to stay on top of it. Being on the sidelines watching the boys play was hard to watch, but seeing them win made it a bit easier.
"I'm starting to get more confident in my body now so I'm looking forward to hopefully playing my part on Saturday night."
This article first appeared on NRL.COM