Robbie Farah has been ruled out for the first six weeks of the NRL season, and will reportedly undergo knee surgery on Tuesday.
Scans confirmed a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, after the veteran Wests Tigers hooker heard a pop during Saturday night’s 30-30 trial draw with Cronulla at Campbelltown Stadium.
Farah ran from the field during the first half of the match, however it wasn’t until after he cooled down the pain materialised.
The tear is in the same knee Farah had surgery on a ruptured ACL in 2014.
“The scans came back showing a meniscus tear,” Farah told News Corp Australia ahead of the Tigers’ opening-round clash with the Warriors on March 5.
“I’ll get some of it cut out. I could have had it repaired, but that would have meant four to six months on the sideline.”
The injury means the Tigers have a crisis in the No.9 jersey, the same position they once appeared to be overflowing with talent in.
One-time Queensland Origin hooker Matt Ballin’s recovery from knee surgery is taking longer than expected, and his return could now come as late as round eight.
Twenty-one-year-old Manaia Cherrington will fill the void for round one, however his dynamic style and small stature mean that he is not a noted 80-minute player.
Utility Dene Halatau, who has filled in at dummy-half in the past, will miss the opening round through suspension, while the Tigers also let former stand-in hooker Joel Luani’s contract expire at the end of last season.
It means 2014 Australian Schoolboys rake Jacob Liddle could be thrust onto the first grade bench for the round one match.