Queensland’s hopes of producing a come-from-behind series victory could be dealt a huge blow, with South Sydney duo Dane Gagai and Jai Arrow in doubt for game two in Brisbane.
The Herald can reveal Gagai, who has been one of Queensland’s best players over recent years, suffered a potential broken hand in the series opener in Townsville on Wednesday night.
Gagai today returned to Sydney and was sent for scans on Thursday night to determine the severity of the injury he was nursing at Townsville airport on his way back home.
If scans reveal a fracture in Gagai’s hand, it is unlikely he will be fit in time for the second game of the series at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, June 27. Regardless of results, he won’t play for South Sydney this weekend after being left out the Rabbitohs’ 21-man squad.
The other concern is Arrow, who required a painkilling injection at half-time after he suffered a rib cartilage injury in the first half on Wednesday. He returned in the second period but is now feeling the effects of the match, watched by an average free-to-air national audience of 2.7 million people.
Arrow won’t play for South Sydney this weekend and is no guarantee to play in round 15 against Brisbane in the final NRL game before Origin II teams are named.
Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett, who confirmed the injuries, said he hadn’t decided on the make-up of his team for this week’s game against Newcastle when contacted by the Herald on Thursday night.
In other team news, Tom Trbojevic and Nathan Cleary won’t be backing up their State of Origin heroics after their NRL clubs opted to rest their most precious assets for round 14.