Reynolds injury throws Blues into further chaos

FIRST Luke Keary, then Mitchell Pearce, now Adam Reynolds - Blues coach Brad Fittler's Blues side has been thrown into utter chaos by a raft of injuries.

Heading into the match against Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium, Reynolds was the favourite to partner teammates Cody Walker in the Blues halves.

But Nathan Cleary is now likely to retain his No.7 jersey if scans today confirm a fractured fibula for Reynolds.

Reynolds was on crutches, with a best-case scenario of a leg contusion keeping his Origin hopes alive.

Fittler will announce his NSW side for Origin I at 6pm Sunday.

The freakish Walker is expected to make his NSW debut at the age of 29, making him the oldest five-eighth debutant in Origin history.

The Blues have confidence in Cleary after he stood up when it mattered for a struggling Penrith side that toppled Parramatta on Thursday night.

However, unlike last year, when his proven partnership with Panthers teammate James Maloney paid dividends in bringing Queensland undone, Cleary has no previous experience with Walker.

Reynolds was expected to be named for an Origin recall. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts.
Reynolds was expected to be named for an Origin recall. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts.

It's a major concern for the Blues, given the unfamiliar duo could have just 10 days before the June 5 blockbuster in Brisbane to bed down trust, attacking structure and a winning combination.

Physiotherapist Brien Seeney, the man behind the NRL Physio Twitter account, said it didn't look promising for Reynolds.

"The best case scenario is it's just a contusion - so it's just a cork to the lower muscles of the outer lower leg,'' Seeney said.

"The significant concern is that he has actually suffered a fracture to his fibula, which is the lower leg bone on the outside of the leg.

"The position of the ice and the fact he required crutches is a concerning sign but X-ray will be the ultimate assessment tool.

"If a fibula fracture is confirmed the usual recovery time is four to eight weeks. If he's lucky enough to escape with just a contusion it's unlikely he'd miss Origin.

"His function in the sheds was a worrying sign."

Heading into this round Roosters star Luke Keary was the overwhelming favourite to be named NSW five-eighth, but he was yesterday ruled out because of a concussion.

Adding to the Keary dilemma is that Newcastle captain Mitchell Pearce is also unavailable for the Blues due to a groin injury.

Knights medical staff informed the NSWRL yesterday that Pearce wouldn't be able to run until Thursday.

There is serious concern for Keary's immediate health after he suffered his third concussion in six months against the Knights on Friday night.

So sick was Keary that his partner drove him home from Newcastle late on Friday night. Knocked out in the eighth minute of the match, Keary's concussion was his second this season.

Under current NRL protocols, Keary's two head knocks will force him to seek an assessment from a doctor independent to the Roosters and NRL. He would also need to pass a six-stage return-to-play protocol which can only be achieved over six days but can take longer depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Blues chief advisor Greg Alexander said it was a simple decision to run out Keary after talking to Fittler.

"We decided it would be negligent of us to even consider Luke after the way he was knocked out up in Newcastle and what he's gone through already this year and what he's gone through in his recent history of concussions,'' Alexander told Fox League.

Keary was considered a certainty until his concussion. Picture by Brett Costello.
Keary was considered a certainty until his concussion. Picture by Brett Costello.


The Blues are also considering several bolters and debutants. Veteran Cronulla centre Josh Morris has emerged as the front-runner to nail the vacant right-centre position.

Morris can secure a return to the Origin arena for the first time since 2016 with a powerful performance against St George Illawarra in Wollongong today.

Roosters winger Daniel Tupou is heavily favoured to earn his first Blues jersey since 2015 ahead of Eels winger Blake Ferguson.

And in what would be dream come true, Wests Tigers utility Ryan Matterson, Canberra's Jack Wighton and Brisbane young gun Payne Hass have all been subjects of intense discussion.

Matterson has been in superb form since switching from the Roosters to the Tigers this year and boasts great versatility in being able to fill any position in the halves, centres or backrow.

While Wighton would also give Fittler coverage on the bench, Hass is firming as a bench forward who can play long minutes, as proven by his devastating form for Brisbane in recent weeks.

NSW (likely)

1 James Tedesco (Roosters)

2) Josh Addo-Carr (Storm)

3) Latrell Mitchell (Roosters)

4) Josh Morris (Sharks)

5) Daniel Tupou (Roosters)

6) Cody Walker (Rabbitohs)

7) Nathan Cleary (Panthers)

8) Dave Klemmer (Knights)

9) Damien Cook (Rabbitohs)

10) Paul Vaughan (Dragons)

11) Boyd Cordner (Roosters)

12) Tyson Frizell (Dragons)

13) Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles)

Interchange

14) Jack Wighton (Raiders)

15) Ryan Matterson (Wests Tigers)

16) Cameron Murray (Rabbitohs)

17) Payne Hass (Broncos)

Queensland (likely)

1 Kalyn Ponga (Knights)

2 Corey Oates (Broncos)

3 Will Chambers (Storm)

4 Michael Morgan (Cowboys)

5 Dane Gagai (Rabbitohs)

6 Cameron Munster (Storm)

7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c) (Sea Eagles)

8 Jai Arrow (Titans)

9 Ben Hunt (Dragons)

10 Josh Papalii (Raiders)

11 Felise Kaufusi (Storm)

12 Matt Gillett (Broncos)

13 Josh McGuire (Cowboys)

Interchange

14 Anthony Milford (Broncos)/Jake Granville (Cowboys)

15 Dylan Napa (Bulldogs)

16 Joe Ofahengaue (Broncos)

17 Jarrod Wallace (Titans)



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