By NICK McGRATH
THE race to get injured Orange CYMS player-coach Mick Sullivan fit for Sunday's Group 10 premier league grand final against Workies will this week reach fever pitch with the former NRL star pulling out an ace in a bid to play.
Sullivan will call on the expertise of former NSW Origin and Australian physio Tony Ayoub to help mentor him through the chronic hamstring issue that has kept him on the sideline since the end of October.
Ayoub will even be at Tony Luchetti Sportsground on Sunday.
The inspirational Pat Gibson has already been ruled out with a shoulder injury and halfback Warick Colley is nursing his own hamstring complaint in the lead up to the biggest game of 2012.
Sullivan said while he didn't want to let the team down by leaving it a man short, if the former NRL rake believes he can contribute in the green and golds' quest for a history-making Group 10 three-peat, he'll play.
"My main concern is for the team. At the moment when I run it feels like it's going to tear. I'll go to stride out and I can feel it," Sullivan said.
"If I can suit up at some stage of the game and still help the team out and play, I will."
Sullivan has had an affiliation with Ayoub since his days at the Sharks.
That affiliation continues today.
This year alone CYMS have sent down some of its brightest talent to rehab under the watchful eye of Ayoub, with Colley (broken ankle) and Kurt Beahan (ACL, knee) all sent to the experienced physio at different stages of 2012.
And the club has benefited.
After a horrific ankle break in a trial game, Colley wasn't expected to play at all this year.
But the crafty half was one of CYMS' best in the 42-12 win over Bathurst St Pat's last Sunday, scoring a try and setting up the side's first with a deft cross-field kick early in the must-win clash.
Sullivan said he appreciated the work of Ayoub, as well as that of doctor Joe Lombardo.
"I consider him a great mate, the same with Dr Joe," he said.
"Tony is even talking about coming up and watching on Sunday, but if someone with his background is coming up, I'd love to get him involved. I think his professionalism will be a big boost for the boys.
"I'm confident no matter who we name we can cover all positions."
Sullivan is expected to name the same 17 that beat St Pat's by 30 points, with Sam Hill coming into the starting side for Gibson.
If at all, Sullivan will play off the bench.
The Group 10 grand final will be played in Lithgow on Sunday.