Hodgson, To’o, and Smith Star Injuries After First Two Rounds

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The NRL season is finally upon us, and for most it means excitement seeing your team take the field, for others it’s been nothing but despair. 

Melbourne Storm, Penrith Panthers, Canberra Raiders and Newcastle Knights have all lost star players due to injury, only after the first two rounds. 

It has been confirmed today that Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing an ACL reconstruction.

Club doctor Greg McCloud stated that Hodgson had sustained a minor injury during round one, but his return to training aggravated his injury and caused a partial tear.

“Whilst the club and Josh were optimistic that the injury could be rehabbed without surgery, it is with much considered thought that surgery is the best option for Josh’s long-term health and rugby league career.”, Dr McCloud said.

Hodgson is disappointed that this is how his last season with Raiders will end, as he will leave the club in 2023 to join the Parramatta Eels.

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The Storm has been hit hard, losing Brandon Smith, George Jennings, and Christian Welch all within the first round against the West Tigers. 

Smith broke his hand in the first two minutes of the game, Welch has suffered a suspected season-ending ruptured Achilles, and Jennings is facing a potentially season-ending knee injury.

Melbourne was able to come out on top in this match still, but this is a massive blow to the side who may not see Smith again until potentially round five or six.

Coach Craig Bellamy has stated that if the injuries are as severe as they believe, they will have to pull some players from somewhere else to fill in the gaps.

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Heading into the second round the Panthers were next to suffer, having lost both winger Brian To’o and prop James Fisher-Harris during their match against the St. George Illawarra Dragons. 

To’o has struggled with injury over the last season and has now suffered a high-grade MCL tear, which will see him out of the line-up for the next six to eight weeks at best.

Fisher-Harris however has only suffered muscular damage in his left shoulder and will be monitored over the next week to see when he can return.

Having dealt with missing To’o for most of last season, Penrith should be able to manage with the team that they have, especially with Nathan Cleary’s return potentially at round four. 

Cleary is currently still recovering from his shoulder surgery, which he underwent after the Panthers Premiership win last season.

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The last star injury in the league at the moment is that of Knights captain fullback Kalyn Ponga.

Ponga tweaked his knee before round two against the Tigers and decided to sit out for the contest to avoid potential injury.

While this had a big effect on the Knights in their match against the Tigers, they were still able to pull away with the win 26-4.

Ponga is set to hopefully return to the line-up before round three against the Panthers.

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