Backrow crisis - minogue back - Kite safe

byso

First Grader
ADAM LUCIUS
28jun05

MANLY coach Des Hasler was last night searching around for a backrow to take on the West Tigers on Friday after losing three key forwards in another dramatic day at Brookvale.

In the space of two hours the Sea Eagles learned;

* Boom second-rower Anthony Watmough would be missing for up to six weeks after suffering a knee injury in Sunday's 31-12 loss to the Bulldogs;

* Ben Kennedy and Steve Menzies were retained in the NSW Origin squad for the series decider next week, ruling them out of the Tigers game;

* Prop Brent Kite escaped a knee lifting charge after the match review committee deemed he had no case to answer;

* Centre Terry Hill was in doubt for the Tigers match after complaining of an arm injury and;

* Front-rower Kylie Leuluai would be back from suspension but Jason King is no certainty to play against Wests.

While the inclusion of both Menzies and Kennedy in the Blues line-up was no surprise, Watmough's injury has hit the Sea Eagles hard.

He will not be back until round 21 at the earliest after suffering a grade three medial ligament tear of his left knee midway through the second half of Sunday's loss at Brookvale Oval.

"I just heard something pop and felt sick in the guts straight away," Watmough said yesterday.

"I knew it was pretty bad at the time, but that's footy.

"It's going to be hard without our entire backrow but the players that will come in will do the job."

Hasler will name his side today, with Phil Morwood, Glenn Stewart, Nathan Tutt and Sam Harris all candidates for backrow positions.

Watmough, meanwhile, allayed fears he would be missing for more than six weeks.

"It's disappointing to get injured but I'll definitely be back for the finals," he said.

"I'm just relieved it wasn't a lot worse."
 

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