WESTERN Suburbs captain Jermaine Ale will finally cast aside months of frustration tomorrow when he returns against Macquarie at Peacock Field.
Ale has not played Newcastle Rugby League since the trials in March after rupturing his right biceps.
A complication during surgery in April led to his arm developing compartment syndrome, which almost resulted in doctors having to amputate the limb.
Ale was told initially it would take 16 weeks to recover fully but it will be 14 when he plays as a substitute tomorrow.
‘‘I begged the surgeon for a clearance two weeks ago to play last weekend,’’ Ale said.
‘‘He said three weeks, I said one week, so we settled on two weeks. I’ve been in full contact [training] for three weeks and it all feels good. It’s nice to be able to use two arms again.’’
Three weeks after the surgery the former Canberra Raider resumed running and all lifting restrictions ended a fortnight ago.
Any lingering weakness in his arm will be tested by an aggressive Scorpions pack.
In May, Macquarie arrived at Harker Oval with a plan to intimidate the Rosellas through their towering prop Daine Laurie.
The game plan worked perfectly as the Scorpions won the match 22-4.
This time around Laurie is away on Knights NSW Cup duty and the Rosellas have been bolstered by the return of experienced big props Jack Afamasaga and Colin Clarke.
‘‘A lot of our old heads are back, so even if they do get up in our face, we can deal with that,’’ Ale said. ‘‘They did stick it to us last time, but that’s why there’s a second round.’’
Whoever wins the match will take sole ownership of second place on the ladder.
Macquarie are nursing plenty of bumps and bruises after beating Central Newcastle 28-12 in a catch-up game at Dangar Park on Wednesday night.
Hooker Andrew Sumner is unavailable after straining the medial ligament in his knee and fullback Nathan Cantor (hamstring) is under an injury cloud.
‘‘We’re going to have to improve, if we dish up how we’ve played for the last month we won’t get near them,’’ Scorpions coach Noel Dent said.
‘‘We’ve lost continuity and Daine Laurie, who was giving us some size there up until a month ago.’’
There are another two big games in the NRL today that will determine the make-up of the top five.
The Goannas host the Bulldogs at Cessnock Sportsground after Kurri Sportsground was closed due to a blocked sewer main spilling human faeces onto the oval.
At Maitland Sportsground, the Pickers will have a mighty task fighting off in-form South Newcastle.
Country Firsts halfback Jade Porter will return for the Pickers after completing his representative commitments and Maitland coach Ron Griffiths expects it will make a great difference.
‘‘We’re definitely happy to have him back as he’s the current Country halfback, which speaks volumes for itself,’’ Griffiths said.
‘‘But for what he does for our side, the other guys just feed off the confidence he’s got and he takes control of the ship and steers them around.’’