Trent Robinson says “without a doubt” the Roosters’ injury crisis is the worst he’s ever seen after his side lost three more players on Thursday night.
Luke Keary was rushed to hospital with a suspected ruptured spleen in the Roosters’ 26-4 loss to Melbourne at the SCG.
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The loss will hurt less than the growing casualty ward with Keary, Mitch Aubusson (fractured wrist) and Lachlan Lam (ankle) all taken from the field on Thursday night.
Test five-eighth Keary was helped from the field in severe pain in the 63rd minute and was later taken to hospital by paramedics with what was first thought to be a rib injury.
He received a needle at halftime and went back on but had to be taken from the field as he fought to keep playing.
In the sheds, concerns grew for a ruptured spleen given the location of the hit where he was whacked by Storm centre Brenko Lee.
“He was running and trying to stay on but we could see it,” Robinson said.
“It was actually our call to get him off rather than his call in the end. He sent (the trainer) away, but you've got to save them from themselves sometimes.”
There are fears a fractured wrist would mean Aubusson has played his final match for the club given the 301-game player is off-contract at the end of the season.
It adds to an already swollen injury list that includes Boyd Cordner, Brett Morris, Victor Radley, Daniel Tupou, Angus Crichton and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Coaches blame six-again rule for injury crisis
Discussing the injury crisis on the Matty Johns Show after the game, Roosters great Luke Ricketson described it as “horrific.”
“I’m not quite sure what it is,” Ricketson said.
“People are stalking about the time off that everyone’s had and coming back and not being conditioned for this style of football but the game’s just got a lot faster and there’s more minutes being played and people are just not adapting to it and the injuries are just going everywhere.”
Robinson and Storm counterpart Craig Bellamy both suggested the new six-again rule had contributed to the mounting injury toll, with players under increased fatigue due to less stoppages in play.
‘NRL Physio’ Brian Sweeney wrote on Twitter that “major injuries (that require 5+ weeks recovery time) have increased to 6.64 per round this season (an increase of over 60% since 2018).”
Major injuries (that require 5+ weeks recovery time) have increased to 6.64 per round this season (an increase of over 60% since 2018). COVID situation a major contributor but definitely needs to be looked at https://t.co/bV887C0fKs— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) August 13, 2020
Robinson said: “We knew the risk of it all and we assumed the risk because that’s what we are here to do.”
“Not having byes and the rule changes have increased the intensity by about 10 to 15 per cent.
“There are consequences for that, a better game and more injuries at the moment.”
The Storm also lost Jahrome Hughes (groin) and Suliasi Vunivalu (broken jaw), who will join stars Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster on the sidelines.
And while Melbourne's injury toll is not as bad as some, Bellamy said some of the rule changes need to be reconsidered for player safety at the end of the season.
“Losing a guy like Luke Keary, he’s one of the elite players in our competition,” he said.
“I thought the last 20 minutes was a bit of an ugly game to be quite honest. We had players playing in positions they’re not used to. The Roosters had that too.
“The fatigue in the game, we decided we wanted that but I’m not sure if there’s too much fatigue with the amount of teams that have got a lot of injuries.
“We’ve got two of our most influential players out and it’s not just about fatigue and soft tissue injuries.
“When people get fatigued they put their bodies in the wrong places when they make tackles or absorb the contact and you get injured from there.
“It’s something we need to have a look at, because it was like a MASH unit tonight. It seems as though there’s a lot of injuries.”