Eels hooker Reed Mahoney will be sent for season-ending shoulder surgery, revealing the enormity of Nathan Cleary’s task to nurse his own injury through to the end of the season as the Panthers also brace for potential suspensions to a couple of their Origin stars.
Amid a worrying form slump which has their top-four spot under siege, Parramatta have lost one of their most important players after medicos advised Mahoney, 23, that it was better to undergo surgery to preserve his long-term health.
Mahoney dislocated his shoulder in early June before the club initially elected to follow the rehabilitation path, which had him back on the park for the past month.
But after aggravating the problem again trying to tackle Latrell Mitchell in a demoralising loss to South Sydney on Friday night, the Eels will send Mahoney under the knife, paving the way for Joey Lussick to make the No.9 role his own a month out from the finals.
It highlights the scale of Penrith’s task in trying to keep Cleary from damaging his own dislocated shoulder again as he closes in on a return.
He was named as part of the extended squad last week but didn’t play against the Roosters, as coach Ivan Cleary mulls whether the clash against the Dragons is the right time to resurrect their No.7 for his first game since State of Origin II.
Penrith could be short on troops after the match review committee slapped Api Koroisau (contrary conduct) and Kurt Capewell (dangerous throw) with charges for separate incidents in their win over the Roosters.
Koroisau, who was playing for the first time since returning from a two-game ban for a biosecurity breach during NSW’s Origin camp, and Capewell are both facing one-match suspensions. But they will both likely challenge the charges at the judiciary given they won’t risk spending more time on the sideline.