South Sydney’s horror injury toll has risen after they lost halfback Adam Reynolds to a possible fractured leg in their 32-16 NRL win over the Wests Tigers.
Reynolds left the ground on crutches on Saturday night after his leg was caught under a teammate in the first half, cruelling his shot at a State of Origin recall.
It is believed the Rabbitohs’ star has been booked in for X-rays on Sunday morning amid fears of a fractured fibula.
He joins a crowded casualty ward that includes Alex Johnston, Kyle Turner, Braidon Burns and Adam Doueihi.
With another five players in contention for Origin, the club will struggle to name a 17-man squad for next week’s clash with Parramatta
Reynolds’ blow took the gloss off a comfortable victory over the Tigers that ensured Wayne Bennett’s side remain atop the NRL ladder.
Their seventh-straight victory means the Rabbitohs have enjoyed their best start since starting 10-1 in 1989, when they claimed the minor premiership.
“We lost (Reynolds), but we’ve got a lot of players missing,” Bennett said.
We’ve just got to keep digging a little bit deeper and find another player and whoever we give the opportunity to, they come up and are getting the job done.
Damien Cook was easily best on ground, scoring a try and setting up three others in another masterful individual performance for the 18,195 ANZ Stadium crowd.
The Blues’ hooker also put in defensively with a game-high 47 tackles.
The hosts blasted the visitors off the park early, courtesy of tries to Cameron Murray and Reynolds for a 14-0 lead by the 16-minute mark.
Raiders injury woes worsen
Canberra coach Rick Stuart admits the Raiders are in for a tough few weeks after losing hooker Josh Hodgson and a third-straight NRL game, falling 22-16 at home to North Queensland.
Hodgson left the field in Saturday afternoon’s second half with a suspected broken thumb, while Cowboys veteran Matt Scott was scratched in the first half with a shoulder complaint.
The Raiders struggled badly without Hodgson last season, when he was out injured. The Canberra co-captain will likely miss at least a month.
The Green Machine are already without internationals Jordan Rapana, Joey Leilua and John Bateman and might well lose Josh Papalii and Jack Wighton next week to State of Origin duties.
“It doesn’t help your cause when you’re losing your best players and tonight was no different,” Stuart said.
“But that’s not the excuse tonight, with Hodgo going off. We weren’t good enough – we had a week off and it’s not good enough.
We let ourselves down, we talk about the benchmark we’ve been setting ourselves and we went backwards tonight.”
Scott’s injury appears less serious and he should remain in contention to play for Queensland on June 5 in the Origin opener.
The Cowboys have won consecutive games for the first time this season and coach Paul Green says they must use the victory to ignite their campaign.
“We have to take some momentum out of it. It’s the first time we’ve backed up a win, so we’re just putting ourselves back in the hunt now, so it’s really important to capitalise on that,” Green said.
“They were missing players and losing Hodgson, he’s a key to their game, that made it a bit hard but they’ve still been a good side this year so it was a good win for us.”
The Cowboys opened the scoring through a Jordan Kahu penalty goal. The Raiders conceded four penalties inside 10 minutes but their defence held strong to keep the visitors tryless.
North Queensland hooker Jake Granville sliced through out of dummy-half before putting Tom Opacic in to score untouched after 18 minutes and Kahu converted for an 8-0 lead.
Wighton responded with a 40-20 and, minutes later, threw a pinpoint cut-out pass to Bailey Simonsson who scored in the corner but Jarrod Croker missed the conversion.
The Raiders took the lead when Williams grubbered in-goal and Gideon Gela-Mosby missed the ball to hand Michael Oldfield a gift on 28 minutes.
Cowboys centre Justin O’Neill crashed over to wrestle back the lead and they extended the margin after halftime when Michael Morgan kicked for an unmarked Kyle Feldt to score in the corner.
A penalty goal made it 20-10 before Canberra super-sub Siliva Havili scored from close range out of dummy-half with 20 minutes to play.
The Cowboys booted another two-pointer and the Raiders had several chances to send it to golden point but the visitors held on.