The NRL fraternity held its collective breath as boom South Sydney backrower Kyle Turner was knocked out in a sickening clash in his return match from a five-month neck injury layoff.
Turner’s career was in serious jeopardy following an incident playing for the Indigenous All Stars in February. He underwent surgery to have an artificial titanium disc inserted into his spine and has made a full recovery, sporting a Brent Tate-style neck brace at ANZ Stadium.
But the 23-year-old, who was a rookie-season premiership winner with the Rabbitohs last year, was left sick and sorry after a collision with Penrith forward Jeremy Latimore early in the second half of Souths’ 20-16 victory.
After an anxious couple of minutes, Turner was helped to his feet and walked off the field under his own steam.
The Coonabarabran junior, a member of Laurie Daley’s emerging Blues squad during the off-season, made 11 tackles and five runs in a 19-minute stint off the bench against the Panthers, and shapes as a key figure in the Rabbitohs’ title defence.