Wests Tigers have been struck a blow with fill-in fullback Jordan Rankin rolling an ankle, putting further strain on their already depleted line-up.
Rankin was sent for scans on Wednesday shortly after suffering the injury at training and is in doubt for Saturday’s NRL clash with Canterbury.
The Tigers will already be without regular No.1 James Tedesco because of State of Origin duties as well as senior players Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods.
Club officials and teammates said they were optimistic Rankin would be OK to play as their top eight hopes go on the line.
If Rankin pulls up short, Justin Hunt shapes as his most likely replacement while Tim Simona played fullback for Samoa in this year’s Pacific Test against Tonga and could be moved from the wing.
“He rolled his ankle at training this morning but I’m pretty sure he’ll be right for the weekend,” winger David Nofoaluma said.
“I think it was more a precaution and I’m sure he’ll be sweet.”
Hunt has played just one game this year – ironically at fullback against the Dogs in round 10.
His night was soured after he was reported for an ugly high tackle on Bulldogs playmaker Moses Mbye as Des Hasler’s side ran out 36-4 winners.