St George Illawarra Dragons winger Jason Nightingale is hoping to be fit enough to compete against local rivals the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Remondis Stadium, Cronulla on Sunday.
The New Zealand international is presently in the midst of his rehabilitation after sustaining a problematic ankle injury during the 19-14 loss against the Sydney Roosters in round 15.
Nightingale, 28, admits he has been restless not being able to compete alongside his teammates in recent fixtures but is confident he will able to take part in the local derby once he overcomes resuming fulltime training.
“My rehabilitation is coming along smoothly and I have had several training sessions to get things back in order,” said Nightingale.
“I hope to be back to fulltime training with the rest of the squad later on in the week as that’s the plan.
“If I can get through that, which I expect to, then I will be ready to play against the Sharks.
“We were not quite sure what the injury was initially as scans in the early days didn’t show up a lot to isolate what the problem actually was in the area.
“The medical staff found out later on once they could observe how I was reacting to different things.
“Initially we thought the injury would only be a week but to in fact miss two games is disappointing and hopefully we can make sure it’s not three.
“It’s frustrating having to watch the team play from the side lines as you have no influence over the team or even be able to give the boys a talk to when they need it.”
The Monty Porter Cup is contested each time the Dragons and Sharks meet and pays tribute to the achievements of a player with strong associations to both Clubs.
Porter was a second-rower who played 113 first-grade games for the Red V during his eight seasons with the Dragons (1958-65), winning six Premierships during that time (1958-60; 1962-64).
The second-rower left the Dragons in 1965 and went on to become the inaugural captain of the Sharks upon their inclusion into the NSWRL in 1967.