News all good for Josh Hannay

Although he was once banned from playing first-grade rugby league because he was too young, Cowboys star Josh Hannay is hoping to beat yet another hurdle to play in the most important match in the club's short history this weekend.

Hannay is confident he will overcome a shoulder injury which placed his spot in the Cowboys side to take on the Parramatta Eels in the NRL preliminary final at Sydney's Telstra Stadium on Sunday under doubt.

The winner goes through to the grand final for a match that has been 10 years in the making for the Cowboys, who have endured plenty of lean times since they came into the competition in 1995.

The news yesterday was all good for Hannay who partially dislocated his left shoulder in the win over Melbourne last week.

"The doctors say things have improved. They are really positive and so am I," Hannay said.

It's been a long and winding road for Hannay who was 16 when former Cowboys coach Graham Lowe wanted to pick him in first grade in 1995.

Hannay's mum Sharon gave Lowe her blessing but the Australian Rugby League barred Hannay's selection as it believed he was too young.

The boom centre eventually made his debut in March 1998 and has since been one of the club's finest servants.