Cronulla face a nervous wait over the next couple of days as the severity of captain Paul Gallen’s knee injury is assessed.
Gallen was taking a hit-up when he slowed into contact 16 minutes from fulltime in the Sharks’ 20-14 first-round loss to North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday night.
The injury forced Gallen from the field and Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said the 34-year-old forward will have scans on his right knee.
“He’s pretty dejected in the dressing rooms,” said Flanagan.
“We wont know (the seriousness) until he has scans.”
A high-level ligament strain for Gallen would make for a horror start to the season for Cronulla, who pushed the premiers hard at home with only a 74th-minute Ethan Lowe try sealing the Cowboys victory.
Gallen played the ball after being tackled before calling for the trainer.
He was clutching at his right knee as he hobbled up the tunnel and into the sheds.
“We’ll just pray for the best there,” said Flanagan.
This season is expected to be Gallen’s last in the NRL after the NSW and Kangaroos veteran signed a one-year extension last year.