NRL casualty ward: Double Bronco blow, Graham sent for scans

Brisbane could be without co-captain and halfback Brodie Croft for up to a fortnight after he suffered a grade 3 AC joint sprain early in their Round 2 clash with South Sydney.

It is common within the NRL for players to "play through" an AC joint sprain, as although they can be painful and limit function there is very minimal risk of long term or permanent damage. Strapping can be effective at helping stabilise the shoulder, whilst pain killing injections are common to allow players to get through the game.

A grade 3 injury indicates a complete tear of the ligaments surrounding the joint between the acromion (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone). Whilst in many cases a high grade strain/sprain to a muscle/ligament will require a lengthy recovery period, injuries to the AC joint are often different.


Brodie Croft on the bench with a shoulder injury. Picture: Adam Head
Brodie Croft on the bench with a shoulder injury. Picture: Adam Head


Once the AC joint ligaments are completely torn the injury can look and feel worse initially due to the severity of the damage, but the ends of the two bones (acromion and clavicle) will no longer be held against each other. In a partial AC joint sprain (partial tear of ligaments) these two bones are still in contact, which can put further pressure on the partially torn ligaments. This can result in greater pain levels and a longer recovery period for a partial tear compared to a complete rupture.

The Broncos are expecting to be without Croft for at least a week, but an extended absence is very unlikely. A return in 2-3 weeks is the most likely result.



Corey Oates is also in doubt for the Broncos next week after copping a blow to the ribs in the closing stages of Friday night's game. Whilst the Broncos made no mention of a fracture, rib injuries are notorious for being some of the most painful an NRL player can suffer. Often referred to as "The Police" injury; it hurts with every breath you take, every move you make. 

The good news for Oates and the Broncos is these are mostly considered pain tolerance issues; they respond well to pain killing injections and are commonly played through with the assistance of a chest guard/padding.

However it can take some time for the pain to settle enough to commence contact training again, with most players able to return to play within 1-3 weeks. There is also a higher risk of reinjury, as it only takes a blow to the wrong spot for the pain to be significantly aggravated again.



The Broncos did have some positive injury news this week, with Matt Lodge returning to running after shedding the knee brace he wore for three weeks after aggravating a partial ACL tear in the preseason. The knee specialist he visited was happy with the first review at three weeks post injury, with another review scheduled for three weeks' time.

These appointments are used to assess Lodge's progress with rehab; is the knee remaining functional (stable) with increased activity and load? Still there are no guarantees in this recovery process, the review in three weeks likely be used to see how the knee responds to a return to running. If something changes in this time reconstruction surgery may still be required, which would end Lodge's season.

If rehab continues to progress well a return to play can usually be achieved at 8-12 weeks post injury (which for Lodge would be in 5-9 weeks from now).



Wade Graham hobbled from the field in the 67th minute of the Sharks loss to the Storm after suffering what was reported to be a foot sprain. The second rower had been dealing with an ankle injury during the week, missing last Tuesday's training session.

Whilst he will undergo scans it appears mostly precautionary at this stage, with Graham confident it is nothing major. Coach John Morris was hopeful Graham would be fit to play next week.




Siliva Havili suffered what appeared to be a minor hamstring strain and failed to finish the Raiders game. Thankfully the injury did not appear overly traumatic, as he was able to remain on the field for two sets after suffering the strain. Unfortunately even minor hamstring strains usually require at least a week on the sideline, with most allowing a return to play in 2-4 weeks.

Some more horrible ACL injury news during the week, with Taane Milne confirming he ruptured his ACL in the Canterbury Cup last weekend. With the Warriors already down on numbers with the travel restrictions in place this was particularly unfortunate, as Milne would have likely had an opportunity to start in the NRL side. This is the 7th ACL rupture in 2020 to NRL top squad players. 



Brodie Croft (AC joint, Round 4-5)

Corey Oates (Ribs, TBC)

Siliva Havili (Hamstring, TBC)

Wade Graham (Foot, TBC)

Taane Milne (ACL, Season)

Briton Nikora (Knee, Round 3) - pre-game

Nat Butcher (Load management, Round 3) - pre-game

Eliesa Katoa (Concussion, TBC) - returned to field

Sean Keppie (Concussion, TBC)

Brad Parker (Concussion, TBC)







Brodie Croft (AC joint, Round 4-5)

Corey Oates (Ribs, TBC)

Jack Bird (ACL, season)

Tevita Pangai (Suspension, Round 6)

Alex Glenn (Hamstring, Indefinite)

Matt Lodge (Partial ACL tear, Indefinite)

Jordan Kahu (Shoulder, Mid-season)

Sean O'Sullivan (ACL, Mid-season)

Keenan Palasia (ACL, Late-season)

Joe Ofahengaue (Disciplinary suspension, Round 3)

Izaia Perese (Stood down)


Matt Lodge has avoided ACL surgery for now.
Matt Lodge has avoided ACL surgery for now.


Marcelo Montoya (Knee, Round 4)

Chris Smith (knee, round 11)

Kieran Foran (Shoulder, Indefinite)

Kerrod Holland (Knee, Round 3)




No injuries



Korbin Sims (Arm, Round 5)

Cameron McInnes (Knee, Round 3)

Jack de Belin (Stood down)

Mikaele Ravalawa (Thigh, Round 3)



No injuries



Phoenix Crossland (Groin, Round 4)

Bradman Best (Fractured foot, Round 4)

Sione Mata'utia (Knee, Round 3)





Dylan Edwards (Ankle, Round 3)

Kurt Capewell (Quad strain, Indefinite)

Mitch Kenny (Elbow, Round 3)

Soni Luke (Pectoral, April)

Shaun Blore (ACL, April-May)

Brayden McGrady (ACL, April-May)



Patrick Mago (Pectoral, Round 12)



Siliva Havili (Hamstring, TBC)

Hudson Young (Suspension, Round 6)

John Bateman (Shoulder, round 6-7)

Sebastian Kris (extended leave)



Nat Butcher (Load management, Round 3)

Sitili Tupouniua (Knee, Indefinite)

Boyd Cordner (Rested, Round 3)

Billy Smith (ACL, Season)



Sean Keppie (Concussion, TBC)

Brad Parker (Concussion, TBC)

Albert Hopoate (Knee, Round 8)

Jack Gosiewski (Back disc infection, Indefinite)

Manase Fainu (Stood down/shoulder, Indefinite)

Taniela Paseka (Ankle, Round 4)



Briton Nikora (Knee, Round 3)

Wade Graham (Foot, TBC)

Bronson Xerri (Shoulder, Round 3)

Josh Dugan (Knee, Round 3)

Matt Moylan (Calf, Round 5)

Cameron King (ACL, Season)



Brandon Smith (Facial fracture, Round 3)




AJ Brimson (Back, Indefinite)

Shannon Boyd (Shoulder, Indefinite)

Beau Fermor (Knee, Early-to-mid season)

Keegan Hipgrave (Repeated concussions, Indefinite)

Ryan James (ACL, Season)



Eliesa Katoa (Concussion, TBC)

Taane Milne (ACL, Season)

Josh Curran (Calf, Round 4)

Agnatius Paasi (Ankle, Round 4)

Gerard Beale (Knee, Early rounds)

Jazz Tevaga (Ankle, Round 4)

Nathaniel Roache (Knee, Mid-season)

Jackson Frei (ACL, Season)

Bunty Afoa (ACL, Season)

Patrick Herbert and Peta Hiku (Family reasons, Indefinite)




Luke Brooks (Calf, Round 4)

Moses Mbye (Knee, Round 3)

Jacob Liddle (Knee, Indefinite)

Russell Packer (Foot, Indefinite)






Originally published as Casualty ward: Double Bronco blow, Graham sent for scans

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