Monday 19 February 2018 / 05:12 PM

Six Up The Middle – Impact Injuries

A string of serious injuries have beset some of the NRL’s biggest stars over the opening few weeks. Here are the six players whose absence will have the biggest impact on their club.

Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)

His game may not have been required last week as the Rabbitohs cruised to a comfortable win over Newcastle but against stronger opposition his calm play and astute kicking will be desperately missed as he recovers from a broken jaw. Cody Walker and Luke Keary are both excellent talents but lack Reynolds’ nerve.


Jared Waerea-Hargeaves (Sydney Roosters)

The Roosters are lacking their typical aggression this year and it is because of the absence of their forward leader, aggressive Kiwi Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. The punishing prop will return in Round 10 – until then the like of Dylan Napa and Kane Evans need to not only show the fire, but also put in the work.


Nathan Peats (Parramatta)

The Eels rake is no superstar with the ball but he is a defensive rock in the middle who is capable of plying his trade for a full 80 minutes. Peats will miss six weeks with a dislocated elbow and has thrown the steadying hand he offers out the window. It is a big drop in class to journeyman Isaac De Gois and inexperienced livewire Kaysa Pritchard.


Billy Slater (Melbourne)

The most awful news to come out of the first fortnight of the NRL was that Billy Slater’s season is over … and so is his pursuit of Ken Irvine’s all-time tryscoring record. The Storm have a more-than-capable replacement in Cameron Munster, but Slater – particularly his ability to organise the defence and act as an extra playmaker – is irreplaceable.


Brett Stewart (Manly)

The Manly fullback could return as early as this week but his persistent hamstring issues seem set to follow him throughout the season. The Sea Eagles appear lost without him – more so with Kieran Foran now departed. Stewart ranks among the most valuable players at any club.


Brett Morris (Canterbury)

The Bulldogs have won their opening two matches without Morris, but as the season wears on his absence will be truly felt. Canterbury lack speed out wide and while stand-in No.1 Will Hopoate is reliable he lacks the game-breaking punch Morris does. 


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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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