New Manly coach Trent Barrett could be scrambling for a fullback as the NRL club’s pre-season injury toll nears double figures.
On the final weekend of trial matches, Barrett admits stars Brett Stewart (hamstring) and Tom Trbojevic (ankle) could be in doubt for their season-opener after both came off early in the Sea Eagles’ 58-0 rout of Queensland Cup side Ipswich.
The pair join a casualty ward that already houses hooker pair Api Koroisau (shoulder) and Matt Parcell (hamstring), while Feleti Mateo (virus), Isaac John (virus) and Lewis Brown (knee) were also forced to miss the trial.
A third rake, Jayden Hodges, tore his ACL in the Auckland Nines, while another backup, Jamie Buhrer, is out for at least one more month with a broken jaw.
Asked if Stewart or Trbojevic would be right for their season-opener against Canterbury in a fortnight, Barrett said: “I’m not sure, to be honest.
“They’ll get looked at and, luckily for us, we have the week off next week.”
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler also endured a sleepless Saturday night after captain James Graham lasted 10 minutes before being whacked in the ribs during Canterbury’s 20-0 shutout of Melbourne at Belmore Sportsground.
Graham, together with David Klemmer (ribs) and Tony Williams (ankle), were later cleared on Sunday, although Klemmer faces a nervous wait from the match review committee after being reported for dangerous contact.
Parramatta recruit Kieran Foran revealed a reoccurring hamstring injury has hampered his build-up for the new season as the skipper took a backseat in the side’s 22-8 win over Penrith.
Cronulla fullback Jack Bird bagged a brace in their 30-all draw with the Wests Tigers.
The big-spending Warriors were given a 46-10 slap by St George-Illawarra, despite featuring their big three of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke.
Tuivasa-Sheck (ribs) and Manu Vatuvei (concussion) limped off early but neither are in danger of missing round one.
Sam Burgess’ rugby league homecoming was offset by an ankle injury to brother Tom in South Sydney’s 22-20 win over Gold Coast, whose halfback jinx continued.
The Titans were forced to scrape the bottom of their playmaking barrell after Ash Taylor succumbed to a shoulder injury before the game, although teenager Cameron Cullen impressed and could be a bolter to partner Tyrone Roberts in round one.
Titans forward Zeb Taia might also have his NRL return delayed after being pinged for a dangerous throw on Greg Inglis.
Newcastle saviour Trent Hodkinson, together with Jeremy Smith, were named co-captains for the Knights in their 34-28 loss to Canberra in Orange.
Meanwhile, in the UK, Nikorima brothers Jayden and Kodi tore up their Super League opponents with eye-catching performances in the World Club Series.
Jayden, slated to start for the absent Mitchell Pearce in round one, had a hand in five tries in the Roosters’ 38-12 mauling of St Helens, while Kodi went over twice in Brisbane’s 42-12 shredding of Wigan.