NRL suffers massive injury toll

One hundred and eighteen weeks – that’s the incredible possible injury toll from just the first seven games of the NRL season.

The NRL promised a faster game in 2016, due to alterations to the interchange rule and the introduction of the video referee bunker and the shot clock.

But after just one round it is apparent that rugby league is also even more physical this season.

Players are set to miss a combined total of around two years worth of matches as the NRL’s casualty ward begins to bulge.

Ben Henry, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Michael Lichaa, James Segeyaro, Paul Gallen, Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer are already facing extensive layoffs after the opening round.

And things could get worse, with the final match of round one between Melbourne and St George Illawarra still to be played at AAMI Park on Monday night.

South Sydney put in probably the most impressive performance in round one, thumping arch-rivals Sydney Roosters 42-10.

But the confidence-boosting victory has come at a significant cost with Sutton ruled out for 16 weeks due to a pectoral muscle injury.

The Rabbitohs also confirmed on Monday that scans revealed Reynolds suffered a fractured jaw against the Roosters. More will be known on his recovery period on Tuesday, but he could be out for as long as Sutton.

The biggest loser from the opening round so far is Warriors forward Ben Henry, who is expected to miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury suffered in the loss to Wests Tigers.

The Warriors haven’t confirmed the full extent of the injury, but playmaker Shaun Johnson is expecting the worst.

“We’re gutted for Benny,” Johnson said.

“He’s a teammate and a good friend who I have played with for a few years now. To see him go through what he has and then to see this happen, I’m gutted.

“The team will hold him up there. We’ll get around him.”

Canterbury have been hit hard too after their impressive effort against Manly, with fears hooker Michael Lichaa is out for the year due to a knee injury suffered at Brookvale Oval.

More should be known on Tuesday, but a best case scenario is he will miss six weeks.

Canberra can also count themselves unlucky after their morale-boosting first up win over Penrith.

Both of coach Ricky Stuart’s halves Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer are out for up to six weeks due to knee and facial injuries respectively.

After suffering heavy injury tolls the past two seasons, injuries have again been cruel to Penrith, with hooker James Segeyaro out for up to eight weeks with a broken arm.

Paul Gallen rounds out the tale of bad luck from round one.

The Cronulla captain will be sidelined for up to six weeks because of a knee problem picked up in the loss to North Queensland in Townsville.

INJURIES SUFFERED IN THE NRL’S OPENING ROUND

Ben Henry (Warriors) – knee (season)

John Sutton ( Rabbitohs) – pec (16 weeks)

Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs) – jaw (6-16 weeks)

Michael Lichaa (Bulldogs) – knee 6 weeks-season)

James Segeyaro (Panthers) – arm (6-8 weeks)

Paul Gallen (Sharks) – knee (4-6 weeks)

Blake Austin (Raiders) – knee (4-6 weeks)

Aidan Sezer (Raiders – eye socket (4 -6 weeks)

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