Matai out indefinitely

First Grader
Article from: The Daily Telegraph

By Todd Balym

July 31, 2007

MANLY centre Steve Matai has been ruled out indefinitely but Sea Eagles officials believe his latest neck scans are indeed good news.

Matai left the field clutching his neck in Sunday's win over Parramatta, raising concerns the disc injury he has carried for most of the season had worsened.

But in good news for both Matai and the club his scans showed his injury had not changed since his last visit to the specialist and he has been told he could play again this year.

Matai is considered no chance of playing this Sunday against the Broncos in Brisbane, with forward Steve Menzies named in his centre position, but Matai could recover and play next week.

Doctors have told the club they have to wait for Matai's injury to settle down before he can return, continuing his week-to-week prospect of playing again.

Manly coach Des Hasler remains hopeful that the powerful centre can play some part in the second-placed Sea Eagles' run home to the finals.

"Steve Matai with his neck is probably the biggest concern at the moment,'' Hasler said. "He is with our medical people and we'll get him assessed and it's a day-to-day thing at the moment.''

Utility Travis Burns is another Sea Eagle struggling to overcome injury with his ongoing back problem raising concerns that he won't play another game for Manly.

Burns is signed with North Queensland for 2008 and is also rated a touch-and-go prospect of playing again in 2007.

''(Burns missing the rest of the season) is probably the worst-case scenario, there's always that concern with backs,'' Hasler said.

"We're pretty sure it won't be that bad ... he should be another couple of weeks at the most.''

The loss of Matai and Burns has forced Hasler to name second-rower Menzies at centre, a position the try-scoring 33-year-old does not enjoy.

However the 15-year veteran, still in negotiations for one final season at the club, says he's happy to become the club's Mr Fixit in the twilight of his career.

"I haven't played much time in the forwards this year,'' Menzies said. "Every time I come on he (Hasler) is putting me centre or wherever someone gets injured.

"It's been a strange season I suppose. I think I was playing five-eighth for a little while in the second half (against Parramatta) when Steve (Matai) eventually came off and Jamie (Lyon) went to left centre.

"I'm pretty happy to do it. Obviously the more I can get involved the better I think I can play.''
Staff member
If it is going to be a 5-6 week proposition, we may as well book him in for surgery and ready for the off season
Journey Man
Good. Wish Hasler would bite the bullet and put Lyon at Centre and Monas at 6. Ballin in 9.

We are far better served that way anyway.

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