In what could be a lesson for any league fan on the cost of avoiding the dentist, St George Illawarra tough guy Neville Costigan broke a tooth three weeks ago but did not get it checked out by a dentist, only for it to blow up at the worst possible time-on the eve of the Dragons’ 13-12 NRL preliminary final victory over the Wests Tigers last weekend.
But thanks to dental intervention, he made it to Sydney’s Olympic stadium and went on to play a major role in his side reaching next week’s grand final, still with swelling and after finally getting to bed at 4:30am.
According to Dragons coach Wayne Bennett, “As tough as Neville is, he hates needles so he didn’t go and tell anyone about it… it became infected. They were at the St George hospital about 12:30 last night, didn’t leave there ’til about 4:00am this morning, he was on drips and other stuff. Nev got to bed about 4:30 this morning and we managed to get him on the field tonight so we count ourselves pretty lucky.”
Bennett said he had been alerted to the problem at 11:30pm on Friday night.
“I thought it was one of my former players on the drink somewhere ringing me up to tell me the Dragons can’t play,” Bennett joked. “So I ignored it and about 10 minutes later the door bell started ringing and I checked my phone… it was from one of the staff. I realised we had a problem.
“His face was out here somewhere looking like elephant man and in a fair bit of pain and discomfort.”