Highly rated Brisbane rookie Tom Opacic will miss the start of the 2017 NRL season after being told he must have two shoulder reconstructions.
Opacic, 22, was braced for surgery after carrying a shoulder injury into Brisbane’s extra-time semi-final loss to North Queensland.
However, the young gun was surprised to learn he also required an operation on his other shoulder after injuring it in the dramatic finals loss in Townsville.
Brisbane high-performance manager Jeremy Hickmans said Opacic would undergo two surgeries in five weeks, ruling him out for the stat of the season.
“Tom is going to have a long recovery,” Hickmans said on the Broncos website.
“It is very unlucky for him.
“But if things go as planned he would be available in the first couple of months of the 2017 NRL season.”
Opacic stood up for Brisbane in the semi-finals despite his shoulder complaint, replacing suspended centre James Roberts.
Meanwhile, Hickmans said Brisbane’s Kiwi international Kodi Nikorima would be free to play February’s 2017 trials after successfully undergoing a shoulder reconstruction three weeks ago.
Hickmans confirmed Alex Glenn would also be fit by the pre-season after the Broncos and Kiwi forward underwent shoulder surgery on Wednesday.
Glenn was this week ruled out of New Zealand’s upcoming Four Nations campaign to the UK due to AC joint damage.
Glenn carried the injury through the backend of the 2016 season and faces a four-month recovery.