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Opposite numbers race grand final clock

WAIT: Lambton’s Jobe Wheelhouse playing against Edgeworth earlier this season. Picture: Jonathan CarrollThey may line upon opposite sides but Lambton skipper Jobe Wheelhouse and Edgeworth defender Aaron McLoughlin are both racing the same grand final clock.
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The injured duo are doing “allthey can” and will be “given until the last minute” to run out at McDonald Jones Stadium forSaturday night’s Northern NSW NPL decider according to Jaffas and Eaglescoaching staff.

The pair played in their respective semi-final wins on the weekend butWheelhouse has spent much of the last few days recovering from a right ankle issue in ahyperbaric chamber while McLoughlin, who has a hamstring tear, made a surprise return to the training paddock on Wednesday night.

INJURED: Edgeworth defender Aaron McLoughlin (left). Picture: Simone De Peak

“Aaron McLoughlin was back running last night [Wednesday], which surprised us,” Edgeworth coach Damian Zane told the Newcastle Herald on Thursday.

“He’s still going to be a game time decision and we’llgive him as long as possible. He deserves that and he’s a vital part ofus.”

Lambton assistant coach Scott McCarter held a similar view for Wheelhouse, who hasn’t trained but was in a similar situation leading into the Jaffas maiden grand final victory of 2014.

“Jobe is touch and go at this stage,” McCarter said.

“He’s been spending all week in the chamber and it’stoo early to say for him, but we’ll certainly give him every opportunity to make himself available.”

Grand final countdown @nplnnsw with Josh Evans @EdgeworthFC + Michael Sessions @[email protected]@[email protected]南京夜网/mTS4oINMVv

— Josh Callinan (@joshuacallinan) August 31, 2017

On Thursday both Edgeworth skipper Josh Evans and Lambton vice-captain Michael Sessions got their first close-up look at the stadium surface as the big game moves to the Broadmeadow venue for the first time.

“It’s a really big eye opener, the stadium is massive,” Sessions said.

“It should be good on Saturday night withplentyof peoplehere.”

Evans, striving for Edgeworth’s third straight minor-major premiership double, echoed those same sentiments.

“It’s absolutely brilliant to get the opportunity to play on here,” he said.

“The pitch is amazing.”

Elsewhere andMerewether won the NSW Combined High Schools open football knockout competition with a 1-0 victory over Terrigal in Sydneyon Wednesdaynight.

Merewether survived eight knockout games to lift the Puma Cup.

The state’s sports high schools played in a separate final, which Westfields won 4-1 over The Hills.

POSSIBILITY: Wheelhouse in familiar territory

UNCERTAIN: McLoughlin feels hamstring tear

PREVIOUS: Griffiths eyes grand finale

EDGE: Rivals tip Eagles trifecta

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