New South Wales hopeful Tom Trbojevic may be ruled out of State of Origin contention after sustaining potentially season-ending knee and ankle injuries in Manly’s 24-14 loss to Brisbane on Saturday night.
Full-back Trbojevic was helped off the field with his Origin dream, and possibly season, in tatters after he fell awkwardly trying to catch a bomb in the 64th minute of what was the second match of a double-header at Lang Park.
Earlier in the evening, Blues supporters were given a scare when Jarryd Hayne was injured late in Gold Coast’s thrilling 38-36 victory over Melbourne in the opening match.
Hayne, however, was a relieved figure after he was diagnosed with nerve damage in his knee, meaning he should be available for the Titans next week.
The major concern for Blues selectors, however, is the condition of Trbojevic, with Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett fearing the worst.
“He could be gone for the year, I don’t know,” Barrett said.
“The ankle is the main concern. He’s pretty badly hurt.”
Broncos winger David Mead legally tackled Trbojevic in the air because Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough’s kick had already bounced, but Barrett said he believed referees should have used discretion and penalised Brisbane.
“It’s dangerous. It has not only cost us the game, it has cost us one of our best players,” Barrett said.
“A bit of common sense would be good I suppose.”
Trbojevic had pushed his case for the Blues’ number one jersey with a rampant first-half display that gifted the Sea Eagles a 14-0 lead after nine minutes before the Broncos later fought back with 24 unanswered points to secure a fifth-straight win.
Daly Cherry-Evans, a candidate for the Queensland State of Origin squad, said he was upset about Trbojevic’s double-injury blow.
“Everyone was concerned,” he said.
“To see a team-mate go down injured is not ideal, especially one of our more influential players. It is disappointing to see.”
Cherry-Evans talks down Origin claims
Cherry-Evans is a candidate for a Maroons halves berth should Johnathan Thurston fail to prove his fitness in time for Origin I in Brisbane on May 31.
Thurston injured his shoulder in last week’s Anzac Test in Canberra but scans confirmed he did not require surgery, which would have sidelined the North Queensland co-captain for the remainder of the season.
Cherry-Evans is not contemplating an Origin call-up, especially in the wake of the Sea Eagles’ loss to the Broncos.
“Origin is not a thought or an afterthought even,” Cherry-Evans said.
“I have answered a lot of questions about Origin the last week.
“Right now is not the time to indulge in that sort of question.”
Meanwhile, Titans coach Neil Henry praised his side for overcoming the injury of Hayne to clinch victory against the Storm with a 78th-minute try to Konrad Hurrell.
“It was badly needed. It was a roller coaster game but to the boys’ credit they found a way to win and against a quality team,” Henry said.
“It proves we can compete. We spoke about it being a critical time for us on the back of a couple of wins so hopefully we keep the momentum going.”