Crunch … Bulldog Josh Jackson is slammed in Friday’s game against Manly.JAMIE LYON believes Manly can still mount a title defence even if a calf injury rules him out of Friday’s elimination final at Allianz Stadium.
Injuries and probable suspensions are sure to test the Sea Eagles’ depth after a brutal loss to Canterbury at ANZ Stadium on Friday night. The fallout from the opening night of the play-offs include:
❏ A calf injury that forced Lyon off in the first half;
❏ Co-captain Jason King being placed on report for a high shot on Aiden Tolman;
❏ Steve Matai also being placed on report, for clocking Kiwi counterpart Sam Perrett high;
❏ Joe Galuvao in doubt with a calf injury;
❏ An injury cloud over forward Tony Williams following reports he hyperextended a knee.
Lyon limped off after just 25 minutes, forcing NSW utility Jamie Buhrer to cover for him in the centres.
”Not sure – hopefully it settles down well and we’ll see how it is,” Lyon said of his chances of playing this week. ”I was just going to sprint off and felt something go. I would have rather have been out there but these things happen. Hopefully it’s not too bad … Definitely, it’s not the best. We’ve got to grin and bear it, and hopefully the [scan] results are good.”
Asked if the premiers could rebound with so many stars in doubt, the former NSW and Australian representative said: ”It’s going to be tough but we’ll still field a strong team. We’ll come out firing next Friday and hopefully we’ll put in a good performance.”
The Sea Eagles face the prospect of having both their centres ruled out, meaning Buhrer will probably take one of the spots.
”I think he did a good job tonight and if he gets that opportunity next week I’m sure he’ll be able to handle it,” Lyon said. ”We’ll just have to wait and see how many troops we’ve got next week.”
Perrett has no memory of the Matai incident – and large patches of the game – that left him with a sore jaw. ”To be honest, I don’t remember a whole lot,” he said. ”I copped a whack in the head. I just can’t remember patches. I’ve got a sore jaw. I guess he got me somewhere there … I guess I was on autopilot.
”I felt fine, but just memory-wise I just had glimpses of the game, pictures and bits and pieces.”
Asked if Matai deserved to be suspended, he replied: ”He got put on report? I don’t know, I’d have to see it. It’s never nice anyone getting suspended but I guess I’d have to see it.”
Matai has 46 carry-over points and a 70 per cent loading from two previous charges, meaning a grade-one charge will rule him out for two weeks.
”It was a tough, physical game,” he said on the Manly website. ”It didn’t look too bad to me.”
Galuvao hopes for a swift recovery, saying: ”I’m pretty confident I’ll be out there next week. I think I’m just more old than anything. I got a sore calf as well and they took me off for precautionary reasons. I’ve got scans on Monday.
”I’m not ruling myself out. We’re all professional players and need to do what we do, do the rehab.”
Manly came into the match as premiership favourites but the Bulldogs now have that mantle, firming into $3. After defeating Des Hasler’s former team, his side enjoys a two-week break and is one victory away from a grand final appearance.
However, the Sea Eagles, who will need to win three on the trot, are not discounting their chances of becoming the first team since the 1992-93 Brisbane Broncos outfits to go back to back in a unified competition. ”We’ve faced adversity like this all year,” Galuvao said. ”We’ll get in on Monday and prepare as normal. All the boys are mentally tough and it’s what we’re known for.”
Tolman, who was awarded man-of-the-match honours, did not want to be drawn on the hit by King.
”Not too much,” he said of his recollections. I was a little bit dazed but that’s just part of the game. To be honest, it doesn’t really bother me. The judiciary is there to handle that sort of stuff.”
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