Penrith’s red-hot run to the NRL finals has been soured by a serious back injury sustained by key forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard in Saturday’s thrilling late win over Gold Coast Titans.
The Panthers secured a sixth victory in seven games with a 15-14 success at Cbus Super Stadium to cement their spot in the top-eight but they`ll be without Campbell-Gillard for the rest of the season after the giant young prop was forced out of the game on the hour-mark following a Ryan James tackle.
Panthers general football manager Phil Gould confirmed on Twitter late on Saturday night that Campbell-Gillard had fractured his L2 and L3 veterbrae and would be sidelined for three months.
The Penrith prop was held by Chris McQueen and Nathan Friend when James came in as the third man and made contact using his right shoulder.
The incident infuriated Panthers coach Anthony Griffin who told News Corp he wanted the NRL to take action against James, who could once again find himself in hot water after being sanctioned for breaking James Tedesco’s jaw earlier this month – although he avoided a suspension.
“They’ve stood Reg (Campbell-Gillard) up and then Ryan James hits him in the ribs while he’s unprotected,” Griffin said.
“He’s gone to hospital and they think he’s got a broken disc in his back.
“I’d really like the NRL to review it. I’m not happy with how Reg has ended up injured.
“I watched it at the time and thought it was a bit crook, so they need to look at it.
“He can’t move. They had to stretcher him out of the sheds.”.
Penrith skipper Matt Moylan kicked a match-winning field goal two minutes from fulltime, after the Titans had clawed back from a 14-0 deficit to level at 14-14 in the 76th minute.