Penrith Panthers star Brian To’o hoping faith helps him overcome injury for Sunday’s NRL grand final

Covid scares and injuries have created loads of NRL grand final drama, but Penrith star Brian To’o is putting his faith in a message from his partner to get him there.

Brian To’o is relying on three trusty and inspirational words from his partner Moesha to get him fit and firing for Sunday’s grand final against the Rabbitohs.

The Panthers weapon, named on the wing in the Dally M team of the year on Monday night, is racing the clock to take his place in the team after re-aggravating an injury to his left ankle in the 10-6 preliminary final win over the Storm.

It is the same ankle concern that forced To’o to miss the previous week’s finals win over the Eels. To’o had surgery on the ankle late in the regular season, where he missed four games. He was expected to be out for six weeks but returned early to showcase his toughness and famous quick healing powers.

To’o said before he runs out on Sunday he would draw on the same words of wisdom from his partner Moesha Fuifui, who is staying with him in camp on the Sunshine Coast.

“She always tells me ‘go with God’. Those three words work every time and always gets me through,” To’o said.

“My partner doesn’t like it when I get hurt, but she loves me to death and supports me through everything.

“She always gets worried about the injuries I get, but I just tell her that it comes with the job. I guess that is just the norm for me because I am always getting injured.”

To’o had his ankle heavily strapped on Monday and was brought to the team’s media session in a wheelchair by teammate Viliame Kikau.

“Kiks has to look after me because I pulled up sore after the Storm game,” To’o grinned.

“I am not too sure whether I will be playing. Fingers crossed I can pull through.

“I am going to be a little bit nervous, but after the first carry I should be OK. Once I had my first carry against the Storm I was ready to go.

“I will give myself probably until game day, but it depends on what the doctors say.”

Panthers second-rower Kurt Capewell said To’o’s ability to fire while carrying injuries was inspirational.

“He is one tough character,” Capewell said.

“He is just built different. I don’t know what it is with Bizza [To’o]. He has so many carries in a game and there is not one carry where it is 80 per cent. It is one hundred per cent every time and that is a credit to him. He is just an awesome player to have on our team.”

To’o said he was expecting another war of attrition against the Rabbitohs, who beat the Panthers 16-10 in the first week of the finals.

“The way we play is to grind it out and it is definitely going to be a grinding out game against the Bunnies,” he said.

“It is a lot different to the start of the year when we were blowing teams off the park. Now it is close games and we love it like that.

“I just love the Penrith culture. It’s a happy culture. Everyone is all-in for the one job and the one dream. I am really excited for this week’s game.”

Originally published as Hurt Penrith Panthers star Brian To’o hoping faith helps him overcome an ankle injury for Sunday’s NRL grand final

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