Monday 22 January 2018 / 05:44 AM

Round 1 marred by horrific injury toll

An enthralling opening round of NRL action has been marred by a terrible injury toll, with several clubs suffering casualties to key players.

The carnage began on Thursday night when Brisbane three-quarter Jordan Kahu – who scored the first try of season 2016 – left Pirtek Stadium with a thigh injury. The Kiwi international is expected to be out for a month, further decimating the Broncos’ backline stocks with Jack Reed, Lachlan Maranta and Carlin Anderson all currently sidelined.

Canterbury and Penrith, opponents in Round 2’s Thursday night clash, have both been hit by serious injuries to their hookers. Bulldogs rake Michael Lichaa, scheduled to undergo knee surgery on Monday, is facing 1-3 months out with a torn meniscus. Panthers No.9 James Segeyaro is looking at 6-8 weeks with a broken arm.

Canberra is sweating on the prognosis of the knee injury that forced Blake Austin off the field against the Panthers, with a medial ligament problem expected to keep him out for some time. Fellow star half Aidan Sezer scored two tries despite taking a bad knock to the cheekbone; the Raiders will be hoping the playmaker can take his place on Saturday against the Knights.

Luckless Warriors utility Ben Henry is the saddest story of the weekend. After missing most of 2013 and 2015 with knee reconstructions, the versatile workhorse dislocated his kneecap against the Tigers and is likely to be done for the season.

Cronulla will be without captain Paul Gallen for at least the next month after being struck down by a knee injury early in the second half in Townsville – but some reports suggest the NSW skipper’s career hangs in the balance. 

South Sydney’s remarkable 42-10 thrashing of Sydney Roosters was soured by a suspected broken jaw suffered by Adam Reynolds and a pectoral injury to backrower John Sutton. Luke Keary will return from suspension to accompany debut star Cody Walker in the halves, while the George Burgess also comes back from suspension to alleviate John Sutton’s possible absence, allowing brother Sam to return to the backrow. 

After the furore surrounding a spate of injuries suffered during the Auckland Nines, will we now see NRL coaches campaigning for Round 1 to be scrapped in future seasons?

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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