Fates hang in the balance
BY BRAD FORREST
12 Aug, 2010 12:40 PM
TOUGH Cronulla Sharks forwards Jon Mannah and Reece Williams were dealt rough hands this season, neither able to play in the NRL.
Now, only Mannah's career is assured.
After more than six months of treatment, Mannah has seemingly recovered from Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Having advanced to playing up to 40 minutes a game for the Sharks' NSW Cup side in the past two months, he looks set to finally return to the Sharks NRL team next year.
Local junior Reece Williams isn't so lucky.
The 2007 City Origin representative suffered brain bruising and a blood clot last year, which left him traumatised in hospital and then battling headaches.
He returned to football in March this year but collapsed again while playing in a NSW Cup game between the Sharks and Shellharbour at Ron Costello Oval.
Later, in Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital, another blood clot was discovered on his spine and removed.
Five months on, and despite feeling good, Williams' medical specialist won't clear him to play football again.
"I've been doing weights and cardio work for a while and I feel I'm right to resume full training,'' he said.
"But I'll need another opinion and a clearance to do that. It is very frustrating.
"In the meantime, I'm doing some personal training as well as my diploma in management.''
Mannah spoke of his own battle on Tuesday and his role as the club's ambassador for the Cancer Council's Call To Arms campaign, which kicks off tomorrow night. To mark the launch, the Sharks will don yellow jerseys for their match against the Roosters at Toyota Stadium.
Mannah said he was overwhelmed by the club's decision to dedicate the match to him.
"It was a long struggle and the [chemo] treatment did make me sick for a while,'' he said.
"I did hold some faint hope I might get back to play first grade this season, but at least I've managed to string together games for the [NSW] Cup Sharks side.''
Mannah contracted until the end of 2011 wants to make it back into the NRL team.
"I guess it will be up to me,'' he said.
"Initially, I really struggled with my game fitness since my comeback at Tuesday Park.
"But now, a few months down the track, I'm getting about 20 minutes a half and I feel so much fitter.
"I've passed my three-monthly checks so far.
"I've been told it is highly unlikely the disease [Hodgkin's lymphoma] will return.''
I just watched replay of the sharks v eels game from last year played at parra about round 10. It was the game when the 2 Mannah boys played against each other for first time in 1st grade. (We won 13-10 in the last few minutes)
Was taking a bit more interest in our Jonny and I'd forgotten what a good player he is. Not saying he was best prop out there (Snowden was) but he was a starting prop with douggie in 2nd row. He held his own against Fui Fui and co but what stood out was his lower body strength. When he hit the line, he just kept those legs pumping and pushed 2-3 defenders back that extra yard or 2.
Watching interviews the after game at ground level and players walking round in background, he looked a lot smaller than the other forwards on both sides and didn't look that much bigger than Barrett. (Perhaps he had lost weight alraedy due to the cancer)
Sure do hope that he has fully recovered (for his sake more than ours) and can regain his strength and slot back into being one of our regular top 4 props