Luck in hunt, Maloney and Matulino out
Monday 6 August 2012 8:06 PM
Veteran loose forward Micheal Luck is in the frame to return to the NRL this week but his Vodafone Warriors team-mates James Maloney and Ben Matulino are both facing time on the side-line in the coming weeks.
While Luck has through well after his comeback appearance in the New South Wales Cup last Saturday, standoff Maloney (knee) and prop Matulino (pectoral) picked up injuries in yesterday’s heavy loss to Cronulla at Mount Smart Stadium.
After the match Vodafone Warriors head coach Brian McClennan was resigned to losing the duo for this Saturday night’s 23rd-round clash against North Queensland in Townsville.
Maloney lasted only 16 minutes of the Cronulla encounter before leaving the field with an injured left knee. Team doctor John Mayhew said scans today confirmed a medial ligament strain which would keep Maloney out for one to two weeks.
Matulino, in exceptional form this season, was diagnosed with a pectoral problem on his left side after yesterday’s match. Mayhew said scans had revealed a small tear but, while surgery wouldn’t be required, Matulino was expected to be out for three or four weeks. It means he could miss the rest of the regular season with only four games left against North Queensland (away), Penrith (home), St George Illawarra (away) and Canberra (home).
While Maloney and Matulino are out of contention, the 222-game Luck will be available again after testing his left shoulder playing for the Auckland Vulcans against Wentworthville in the New South Wales Cup on Saturday. Luck (30) played the full 80 minutes and has emerged unscathed from the hit-out.
He has played just two NRL matches this year – he was used off the bench against Cronulla and North Queensland – but had been out of action since until his outing with the Vulcans.
Captain Simon Mannering has missed the Vodafone Warriors’ last two games with an ankle sprain. He remains in doubt for the trip to Townsville.