Wollongong Hawks forward Tim Coenraad is poised to make his first appearance of the season in tonight's crucial home meeting with title-holders New Zealand.
Coenraad has been a frustrated figure on the sideline during his team's first 13 games, but is finally over the plantar fasciitis injury he was diagnosed with late in the pre-season.
"I'm in the home stretch now," the two-metre Queenslander said yesterday.
"Every time I wake up in the morning I hope that it feels all right, and so far it has.
"I've been practising. I haven't completed a session but I did an hour and a half on Thursday. It's getting better and it's reacting the way I want it to."
The Hawks have endured an unenviable run of injuries in 2012-13.
Coenraad hasn't played, guard Tyson Demos has appeared in six games, while centre Larry Davidson (rib) and forward Dan Jackson (calf) are both out indefinitely.
"Due to the lack of numbers I may suit up, but that's [coach] Gordie's [McLeod] call and he hasn't let me know yet," Coenraad said.
"The aim is definitely to get out there as soon as I can and try to make a difference. I know I'm not going to do it all at once, but I'll try and bring a little spark and enthusiasm because I haven't played for so long."
While the third-placed Hawks (8-5) have lost four of their past five games, the league-leading Breakers have put together an impressive 11-3 record. But of their 15 meetings in Wollongong, the Hawks have conquered New Zealand on 12 occasions.
"We're definitely in the contest," Coenraad said. "New Zealand's a great team and they're hot right now, but we believe in what we do and we're not going in there thinking we can't beat them because we know we can.
"It's just whoever shows up on the night, because some teams might be red-hot but they might have that night where they're not firing.
"We're just going to play our game and stick to the game plan."