Pritchard ready for NRL return

Experienced Parramatta forward Frank Pritchard has recovered from a foot injury and is in line to return against the Brisbane Broncos on Friday night.

The experienced veteran joined the Eels at the beginning of the 2017 season but managed just six games before fracturing his foot against the Warriors back in April.

Brother Kaysa has since been ruled out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury and the Eels were forced with more bad luck losing Clint Gutherson to the same season-ending injury on the weekend. 

With four wins on the trot, the 33-year-old could find it a tough ask to walk straight back into Brad Arthur's line-up and was coy when asked if he had been given the nod. 

"I'm right to play this week but I'm just going to wait and be patient for my chance to play," Pritchard said on Tuesday.

"It's another week of conditioning for me and waiting for a spot to open up.

"It's been pretty tough. When you get a long injury and you're in rehab you just want to be out there. No one wants to spend 15 weeks on the sidelines watching games and trying to nurse an injury. 

"But I'm back fully fit so I just have to get my chance."

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‌Parramatta's depth in recent years would have been tested with the clubs injury toll, but in 2017 they've been able to accommodate their losses of key personnel throughout the year with enough experience and skill lifting them to a comfortable seventh position on the Telstra Premiership ladder with six rounds remaining.

Pritchard joked he had been stuck in rehab too long with Kaysa as the Eels have been forced to deal with a number of injuries this season. 

"Ask anyone and he brings a lot of energy and a buzz in rehab," he said.

"Kaysa plays a tough game and with all his heart leaves nothing in the tank and that's him, he just puts his body on the line.

"All the fans appreciate that and he's a lot of injuries and he's trying to get back. I'm trying hard as well just so I can get away from him.

"[Josh Hoffman] has also been trying to get fit in rehab too but if he's not right we've got depth there as well."

Hoffman has been named on the wing for the Eels this week, with Beven French shifting to fullback to cover for the injured Gutherson, while Pritchard has been included among the reserves in jersey 20.

Brisbane will head to Sydney on the back of four wins from their last five games and loom as the Eels' toughest test to round out the regular season.

Arthur's side will meet the Broncos once more in Round 25 – the only top-eight club they'll face before finals football in September.

"The Broncos pack are tough and for us we need to match the physical challenge. They leave nothing in the tank," Pritchard said.

"The attack comes naturally for us but it's about defence and what we do coming out of yardage in sets. It's pretty to watch but our main focus is how we defend because we can let some points in."

Should Pritchard not make Arthur's final 17 against the Broncos, he'll be pushing for a return clash with his old club Canterbury next week.

This article originally appeared on NRL.com

he Eels kick off against the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium on Friday 28 July in Round 21 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, kick off at 7:50pm. 

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