Rugby League

NRL Casualty Ward: Groin sidelines Munster; Raiders lose Levi

March 8, 2024 5:58 am


The Storm will be without star playmaker Cameron Munster for Friday’s blockbuster against Penrith after he succumbed to a groin injury.

After initially being named on Tuesday, the Maroons and Kangaroos playmaker was ruled out on Thursday and replaced by Jonah Pezet.

“I don’t think anyone is exactly sure of what it is or how to fix it,” Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

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“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, he looks like he is going to improve and then he does a bit of training and it gets sore again.”

The Knights were forced to re-shuffle their backline in Thursday night’s Round 1 loss to the Raiders after centre Enari Tuala suffered a quad strain late in the first half.

Adam O’Brien is hopeful a nine-day turnaround will be enough for the 25-year-old to return for their Round 2 clash with the Cowboys.

Later in the match, the Raiders lost hooker Danny Levi to a quad cork.

The 27-year-old is expected to be fit for Round 2 despite being ruled out in the 50th minute of his side’s victory over the Knights.

The Raiders were also without veteran Elliott Whitehead for the season-opener as he battles a calf injury.

Whitehead is expected to miss between 3-4 weeks, with his place for Thursday’s game taken by new recruit Zac Hosking.

Also watching from the sidelines at McDonald Jones Stadium was Knights hooker Jayden Brailey, who is nearing a return from a hamstring injury.

“He’s very close, if it’s not Round 2 it’d be a definite Round 3,” Knights coach Adam O’Brien said on Wednesday.

“He looks really good, every time I see him, but given his history, it’s a long season and I don’t want to rush it.”

Roosters duo Sitili Tupouniua and Siua Wong have been assessed by club medical staff following the Round 1 match against the Broncos in Las Vegas.

After experiencing pain in his left groin, Tupouniua was taken from the field early in the second half. As a precaution, he will undergo scans and assessment.

Wong was cleared of any injury after leaving the field late in the second half, and will be available for selection in their Round 2 clash against the Sea Eagles.

Centre Billy Smith was ruled out on the eve of the Las Vegas clash with a hamstring injury.

The Warriors have also been dealt a blow ahead of Round 1 with Marata Niukore sidelined by a minor foot fracture he suffered in the Pre-Season Challenge match against the Dolphins.

Head of performance Balin Cupples said the timeline on Niukore’s return was indefinite. “He is expected to come out of his protective boot and modified weight bearing acute phase later this week,” Cupples said.

At the Titans, star duo Jayden Campbell and David Fifita are progressing well with their rehab, but both are at least a month away from playing.

Fifita (pectoral) and Campbell (knee) have successfully begun their integration to team training in the past fortnight with an eye to returning somewhere between Round 4-6.

Prop Isaac Liu has also been given the green light to celebrate his 250th NRL game in Round 1 after a minor knee injury sidelined him from the Pre-Season Challenge game against the Eels.

The Sea Eagles, meanwhile, were dealt a blow late in their Round 1 win victory over the Rabbitohs in Las Vegas with Jason Saab suffering a hamstring injury.

The prolific winger was having a day out on Manly’s right edge, scoring an intercept try and running 248 metres before leaving the field in the 76th minute clutching his right hamstring.

Manly coach Anthony Seibold said post-match he expects Saab to be sidelined for their Round 2 match against the Roosters on March 17.

“Any time you see one of your real speed men pull up like that it’s not ideal. Obviously he’ll get scans when we get back to Australia,” Seibold said.

“We’ve got a long turnaround and it’s probably doubtful he’ll play in that Roosters game but whenever you see a player come off with a hamstring injury it’s never going to be a five or seven-day turnaround.”

The Broncos lost Brendan Piakura early in their Las Vegas loss to the Roosters with the back-rower failing a head injury assessment.

Piakura left the field in just the fourth minute of the match after his head came into contact with Brandon Smith’s hip in an attempt to make a tackle and was ruled out later in the first half.

The Cowboys have confirmed representative forward Coen Hess has suffered a season-ending ACL injury while Dolphins lock Tom Gilbert will also miss the 2024 season after he ruptured his ACL against the Warriors in the trials.

“Tom is now effectively out for the 2024 season because of this injury, which generally requires a 9-12 month rehab period,” Dolphins’ Head of Performance Jeremy Hickmans said in a statement on the club’s website.

“On a positive note, he has already shown us how dedicated he is and that he is willing to go to all lengths through a long rehabilitation with his comeback from last year’s shoulder surgery.

“I have no doubt he will replicate those efforts and be back ready to go for the 2025 season.”

The news comes after Gilbert missed a large portion of last year following a shoulder injury in the 2023 State of Origin opener which required a reconstruction.