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25 hours ago
A chance meeting with Andrew Johns has Bulldogs five-eighth Braith Anasta ready to wear a special brace if and when he returns from a sternum injury.
Anasta, who sat out last Sunday's semifinal win over Melbourne, is hopeful of being fit for the NRL club's preliminary final against Penrith at Aussie Stadium on Saturday night.
If he does play, he'll do so with a brace borrowed from Newcastle and similar to one worn by Johns when the Knights captain suffered the same injury.
"It's just a big vest, a solid chest guard," said Anasta, who bumped into Johns at a recent sponsor's function.
"He (Johns) said he wore the brace and got needled up and played a few games.
"We just got on the job and got it down here. I'll try it later in the week. Hopefully it will do the job."
Anasta, who said he would consider taking a painkilling injection in order to play, trained with his teammates at Canterbury Pool and showed no signs of inconvenience.
However, he is yet to do any contact work - that test will come later in the week.
"I'm definitely more confident than last week," Anasta said.
"It's only really in the one area that it's painful. It's hard, I haven't done any contact yet.
"I'll just rest it all week and hopefully later in the week do a bit of contact and see how it feels.
"Everything is positive. I give myself some chance now because it feels a lot better.
"I'm quietly confident. If I can play I definitely will.
"I have waited four seasons for this so you want to be out there."
His return could leave coach Steve Folkes with some headaches.
One of those, more likely Thurston, will have to make way for Anasta.
"Thursto played really well, Reni did his usual job and played solid," Anasta said.
"They stepped up. We have so much depth there.
"I know if I don't play they'll do a good job which is good for the club and good for the team."
The other concern is the effect it could have on halfback Brent Sherwin.
Sherwin was back to his best, answering his critics with a dominant performance.
"He played well," Anasta said.
"He stepped up. He had a lot of pressure on him because he had a lot of people doubting him.
"He did what he did best."