NRL head of football Graham Annesley has provided a detailed explanation as to why Sharks centre Jesse Ramien was not penalised for a tackle that left Knights star Kalyn Ponga injured. Ponga’s shoulder injury adds to a growing list of injured players, including Jahrome Hughes, Jamal Fogarty, Nicho Hynes, Jarome Luai, Joey Manu, Adam Reynolds, and Pat Carrigan. These injuries could have significant implications for their respective teams’ chances in the finals.
Ponga will definitely miss the upcoming match against St George Illawarra after being forced off the field in Sunday’s win over Cronulla. His availability for the opening finals match is also in doubt.
Initially, there was criticism that Ramien wasn’t penalised for an alleged shoulder charge. However, Annesley addressed this criticism by showing footage during his media briefing that proved the tackle was legal. Annesley emphasised that players can sustain injuries even during legitimate tackles, and this incident was no exception. The review of the footage clearly showed that the initial point of contact was shoulder to shoulder, and there was no shoulder to head contact, which is typically penalised.
Although Ponga has been diagnosed with a high-grade AC joint injury, the Knights are hopeful that he will be able to play in the finals. They are also hopeful for the return of injured halfback Jackson Hastings.
The Sharks are anxiously awaiting the fitness of Hynes, who was a late withdrawal from the match against Newcastle due to a quad injury. Additionally, it remains uncertain whether fullback Will Kennedy will recover from his hamstring tear in time for the finals.
Reynolds missed the Broncos‘ recent match due to a calf injury but is optimistic about his fitness for the finals. On the other hand, Carrigan’s return from a foot injury is less certain.
In the upcoming clash between the Broncos and Storm, a minor premiership is up for grabs. However, both teams have key players on the injury list. The Broncos will be without Hughes and Grant, who sustained injuries in their previous win against the Titans.
The upcoming finals matches include a potential rematch between the Broncos and Storm if the Broncos emerge victorious on Saturday night. The Penrith Panthers will host the Warriors, but the Warriors are monitoring injuries to captain Tohu Harris and playmaker Luke Metcalf.
Manu suffered a hamstring injury in the Roosters‘ win over the Wests Tigers and is doubtful for the crucial match against South Sydney on Friday night. Additionally, enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is suspended.
The Rabbitohs, who only need to win to secure a finals spot, will be without fullback Latrell Mitchell and prop Tom Burgess, both of whom are serving suspensions. North Queensland, which also needs a win against the Panthers to secure a play-off berth, will be without Kangaroos star Val Holmes due to suspension and second-rower Jeremiah Nanai, who is recovering from a shoulder injury.