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NRL Premiership

Nathan Cayless Pic by Matt Blyth Getty Images

Nathan Cayless ... completed a full training session. Getty

Parramatta captain Nathan Cayless declares himself fit for NRL grand final

By Samantha Broun
October 03, 2009

Veteran Parramatta prop Nathan Cayless has declared himself fit to captain the Eels in Sunday's NRL grand final against Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium.

Cayless has won the race to recover from a hamstring strain, which at the start of the week looked almost certain to end his second shot at a premiership title with the Parramatta club.

An intense week of physiotherapy, chiro, acupuncture and a somewhat alternative treatment, Scenar, has helped the 31-year-old get across the line in time for Sunday's decider.

Scenar, or self-controlled energo neuro adaptive regulator, is an advanced medical treatment device which is non-invasive and delivers pain-relieving therapy.

Cayless completed his second full training session in as many days on Saturday and was running and stepping freely in wet conditions at Parramatta Stadium.

The Eels players applauded their courageous skipper from the park at the end of the session, before boarding their coach bound for the undisclosed team hotel.

"Yeah (I'm fine to play)," Cayless said after the Eels' final training session.

"(Training) went really well. The physio and chiro have done a great job. I've been bathing in PainAway, rubbing cream on that.

"I also thank Chris from Scenar Health, I've done a lot of work with him well.

"I'm very happy to be playing."

Coach Daniel Anderson was visibly pleased Cayless had overcome the injury.

"Nathan did last night's session and today's session. He's done two sessions, so he'll play. I'm very happy," Anderson said.

"The boys are happy he's playing and happy that he gets an opportunity to participate.

"We didn't expect him to train last night but he did, so that was a bonus."

Cayless joins teammates Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt as the only remaining members of the 2001 team which was beaten in the grand final by Newcastle Knights after finishing minor premiers.

Eels physio Kieran Morgan said he had endured an "intense week" with Cayless and was confident he was fit to play a big role on Sunday.

"He did a fair amount of running (today) and he looked good," Morgan said.

"Nathan's always been pretty good with managing his injuries.

"He was up all night using a new machine which is actually ice and compression at the same time ... after that then it was just getting his function back and strength and just treating it with everything.

"He's been getting chiro, he's been getting acupuncture, dry needling it.

"Feeling good, it will be up to him and the coach to make an honest decision."

Meanwhile, Eels forward Joe Galavao, who won a premiership with Penrith in 2003, is feeling confident and relaxed heading into his second grand final.

"I've tried to enjoy the week, my wife's more nervous than I am," Galavao said.

"Last time she said was hard to handle, but this week she's enjoyed it more because I'm relaxed."

Galavao confirmed standby prop Broderick Wright will still warm up with the team on Sunday.

The Eels happily greeted a group of dedicated fans, who watched training from outside the closed stadium in the rain.



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GF Fox Stats

    Who: Parramatta (8th W12 L11 1D)

    v Melbourne Storm (4th W14, L9, D1)

    Where: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
    When: Sunday, October 4 (5pm EDT kick off)

    Melbourne have won all three of their finals matches against the Eels (1999, 2006 and 2007)

    Melbourne have won two premierships (1999 and 2007) and finished runner-up twice (2006 and 2008)

    This will be Melbourne's fourth consecutive grand final. They become the first team to do so since the Eels in 1981-1984. Since compulsory grand finals were introduced in 1954, all three teams making four consecutive grand finals or more have won at least two of them, St George (1957-1966, won 11 from 11), South Sydney (1967-1971, won four from five), Parramatta (1981-84 won three from four)

    Melbourne have not beaten the Eels since the 2007 preliminary final (two losses)

    Parramatta have not won a Premiership in 23 years. This is the fourth-longest drought for any current NRL team (Cronulla 42 years, South Sydney 38 years, Dragons - including St George - 30 years)

    Parramatta are the first team to make a grand final from eighth position since the inception of the McIntyre System in 1999. The Bulldogs made the grand final from ninth in 1998 in a ten-team finals series. The lowest ranked team on the regular season ladder to win a premiership was the Bulldogs in 1995 (they finished sixth)

    Since the inception of the McIntyre system, this will be just the third grand final that neither the first- nor second-placed team have contested (1999 and 2005)

    Melbourne have won four of their past five finals matches. The only loss in this time was in last year's grand final. Parramatta have won their past three and five of their past six finals matches. The only loss in this time came against Melbourne in 2007 (26-10 at Etihad Stadium)

    Parramatta's past two finals losses have both been to Melbourne

    In this year's finals series, Melbourne have scored 80 points and conceded just 22 (40 p/g scored and 11 p/g conceded). Parramatta have scored 74 points (24.7 p/g) and conceded 26 (8.7 p/g)

    Parramatta won this year's clash against Melbourne in round 19 (18-16). That was only their sixth win of the year, but since then Parramatta have only lost one match (round 26 v Dragons)

    The past two matches between these two sides have both been decided by just two points. Seven of the past eight matches between these two sides have been decided by 12 points or less

    Melbourne have won their past four matches. They have not won five consecutive matches since round nine, 2008

    Melbourne have lost their past two matches at ANZ Stadium. Their most recent match at the venue was the 2008 grand final. In those games, Melbourne conceded 76 points (38 p/g) and scored just 12 (6 p/g)

    Melbourne have lost their past two and seven of their past 10 Sunday matches. Parramatta have won their past three and five of their past six Sunday matches

    Parramatta have won their past three matches and 10 of their past 11 matches

    Parramatta have won their past two matches at ANZ Stadium and three from five this season (one draw)

    Since Parramatta's winning run began in round 19, these have been the two best defensive teams. Parramatta have conceded 11.2 points per match, while Melbourne have conceded 13.4. Melbourne have conceded the fewest points per match this season (14.2). Parramatta have conceded the fourth fewest (18.5)

    Parramatta are making the second-most metres (1418)

    Parramatta are making the third-most linebreaks (5.7) and Melbourne are making the fourth most (5.6)

    Melbourne are conceding the fewest linebreaks (3.2), while Parramatta are conceding the third fewest (4.3)

    These two teams are breaking the most tackles, with Melbourne breaking 36.6 per game and Parramatta breaking 35.8 per game

    Melbourne are missing the fewest tackles (25.5 per game), while Parramatta are missing the third fewest (28.9)

    Parramatta are making the most offloads (16.7 per game) and conceding the fewest offloads (9.4 per game). Last week, Parramatta made 39 offloads, the most by any team this season

    Information supplied by Fox Sports Stats



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