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Casualty Ward: Oates, Staggs tracking well; Sharks boost

Broncos winger Corey Oates is set to suit up for the start of the season despite breaking his hand recently at training.

The club on Tuesday announced Oates and centre Kotoni Staggs (ACL) were both progressing well from their respective injuries.

Staggs, who is about 14 weeks post-operation, has not had any setbacks in his recovery and is doing full upper-body gym sessions as well as lower-body strength work. He is hoping to return to the paddock around the halfway mark of the season.

Oates was injured at training a few weeks ago but avoided surgery. The veteran is tracking well and should be available for round one.

Meanwhile, Sharks prop Royce Hunt is targeting a round-one or -two return from a ruptured patella having initially been set to miss the opening stages of the season.

Hunt suffered the injury against the Roosters last September and the club thought he would miss "around the first third" of 2021.

But the 25-year-old is "feeling great" with his rehab ahead of further testing next week. He hopes to get a couple of weeks of full training with the squad before returning to the playing field.

"If I miss round one, then I want to be back round two at least," he said.

Warriors signing Ben Murdoch-Masila has been cleared of a serious pectoral injury in a boost for the club ahead of their pre-season trial against the Titans next month.

New coach Nathan Brown confirmed Murdoch-Masila had suffered a minor pectoral strain at training recently but was in no doubt for the trial, or round one against the Titans. 

Rising Knights forward Jirah Momoisea and Rabbitohs back-rower Brock Gardner will miss at least six months each after scans confirmed the pair had ruptured their Achilles tendons at training in January. 

The Titans have confirmed five-eighth Ash Taylor is set to play in their trial against the Warriors in Lismore on February 27 as he nears full fitness following off-season hips and wrist surgery.

Forward recruit Sam McIntyre is set to don the Gold Coast jersey for the first time in that clash with the club pleased with his progress from a stress fracture in his foot.

Fullback AJ Brimson is likely to be fit for round one having initially said he hoped to return from his Lisfranc ligament injury in a trial.

2021 NRL premiers

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Your club's Casualty Ward: Broncos 
Raiders Bulldogs | Sharks | Titans 
Sea Eagles 
| Storm | Knights | Eels
Cowboys |
Rabbitohs | Dragons | Roosters

Warriors | Wests Tigers

The Casualty Ward

Brisbane Broncos

Corey Oates has avoided surgery on a broken hand suffered at training and is due back in the pre-season trials.

Strike centre Kotoni Staggs said in October that he was targeting a round 13 return from an ACL injury in 2021. Returning hooker Andrew McCullough told the Broncos website in December that his surgically-repaired hamstring is coming along well.

  • Andrew McCullough (hamstring, trials)
  • Corey Oates (hand, trials)
  • Tom Flegler (shoulder, round 1)
  • Kotoni Staggs (knee, mid-season)

Canberra Raiders

Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker is racing the clock to return in round one after shoulder surgery with a round 3-4 timeframe more likely.

  • Josh Hodgson (knee, round 1)
  • Ryan Sutton (knee, round 1)
  • Corey Horsburgh (foot, round 1)
  • Emre Guler (ankle, round 1)
  • Curtis Scott (leg, round 1)
  • Bailey Simonsson (shoulder, round 1)
  • Jarrod Croker (shoulder, rounds 3-4)

Canterbury Bulldogs

The club confirmed winger Christian Crichton suffered an ACL injury prior to the Christmas break with the former Panther set to be sidelined for the season.

Dylan Napa (knee) is on track to play in the trials.

  • Adam Elliott (shoulder, trials)
  • Joe Stimson (shoulder, trials)
  • Dylan Napa (knee, trials)
  • Raymond Faitala-Mariner (ankle, round 1)
  • Luke Thompson (suspended, round 5)
  • Jayden Okunbor (knee, mid-late season)
  • Christian Crichton (knee, season)

Cronulla Sharks

Prop Royce Hunt is targeting an earlier-than-expected return from a ruptured patella in round one or two.

  • Blayke Brailey (ankle, trials)
  • Matt Moylan (hamstring, trials)
  • Siosifa Talakai (shoulder, round 1-3)
  • Shaun Johnson (Achilles, round 8-10)
  • Royce Hunt (knee, round 1-2)
  • Bronson Xerri (stood down)

Gold Coast Titans

Titans fullback AJ Brimson has declared that "round one is 100% on the cards" as he aims to return from an ankle injury in the trials.

David Fifita is nearing the end of his rehab from a syndesmosis injury.

Five-eighth Ash Taylor has progressed nicely after hips and wrist surgeries and should be ready for the trial against the Warriors in February.

  • David Fifita (ankle, trials)
  • AJ Brimson (foot, trials)
  • Jai Whitbread (ankle, trials)
  • Ash Taylor (hip/wrist, trials)
  • Sam McIntyre (foot, trials)

Manly Sea Eagles

Centre Moses Suli was slated to rejoin the full squad after the Christmas break as he nears the end of his recovery from a foot injury.

  • Tom Trbojevic (shoulder, trials)
  • Josh Aloiai (knee, trials)
  • Dylan Walker (foot, round 1)
  • Kieran Foran (pectoral, round 1)
  • Cade Cust (ankle, round 1)
  • Josh Schuster (ankle, round 1)
  • Jorge Taufua (Achilles, April)
  • Moses Suli (foot, TBC)
  • Manase Fainu (stood down)

Melbourne Storm

No injuries.

Newcastle Knights

Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien said key duo Kalyn Ponga (shoulder) and Blake Green (knee) may miss the early rounds as they recover from surgery.

While O'Brien said neither player was expected to miss any great deal of the 2021 season, he may have to plan for them being on the sidelines during the opening weeks.

  • Jayden Brailey (knee, trials)
  • Connor Watson (achilles, trials/round 1)
  • Kalyn Ponga (shoulder, rounds 1-4)
  • Blake Green (knee, rounds 5-8)
  • Jirah Momoisea (Achilles, indefinite)

North Queensland Cowboys

  • Michael Morgan (calf, round 1)

Parramatta Eels

  • Blake Ferguson (knee, round 1)
  • Maika Sivo (knee, round 1)
  • Marata Niukore (suspended, round 2)
  • Michael Jennings (stood down)

Penrith Panthers

  • Charlie Staines (hamstring, trials)

South Sydney Rabbitohs

  • Cameron Murray (hamstring, trials)
  • Adam Reynolds (groin, trials)
  • Latrell Mitchell (hamstring, trials)
  • Junior Tatola (ankle/knee, trials)
  • Taane Milne (knee, rounds 1-4)
  • Braidon Burns (knee, rounds 1-4)
  • Brock Gardner (Achilles, indefinite)

St George Illawarra Dragons

Dragons coach Anthony Griffin said star signing Jack Bird was set to join the main group for training in mid-January but everything was headed in the right direction.

"He is still a really young man, he is fit, he has been a little bit out of luck injury-wise but everything I have seen so far from the way he is moving at the moment and where his mind is at he is really gearing up for a big season," Griffin said.

  • Jack Bird (knee, trials)
  • Billy Brittain (shoulder, round 1)
  • Jack de Belin (stood down)

Sydney Roosters

Roosters duo Victor Radley and Sam Verrills remain on track to return from knee injuries in the early rounds of the Telstra Premiership next season. 

  • Siosiua Taukeiaho (knee, trials)
  • Billy Smith (knee, trials)
  • Victor Radley (knee, early rounds)
  • Sam Verrills (knee, early rounds)


  • Ben Murdoch-Masila (pectoral, trials)
  • Leeson Ah Mau (pectoral, trials)
  • Jackson Frei (knee, trials)
  • Bunty Afoa (knee, trials)
  • Karl Lawton (Achilles, trials)

Wests Tigers

  • James Roberts (pectoral, trials)
  • Adam Doueihi (suspended, round 2)
  • Billy Walters (knee, indefinite)
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