NRL: Henry out for season

By Michael Brown

Scans this afternoon have confirmed utility Ben Henry has become the third Warriors player to have his 2013 season ended by a knee injury. Photo / Getty Images.
Scans this afternoon have confirmed utility Ben Henry has become the third Warriors player to have his 2013 season ended by a knee injury. Photo / Getty Images.

Ben Henry's smile has been replaced by a grimace after scans today confirmed he had suffered a season-ending knee injury in Warriors training last night.

It was not only a big blow for Henry, who was determined to prove how much he cared after he was seen laughing and joking with opposition players after the Warriors' record 62-6 defeat to Penrith last weekend, but also the Warriors who have ongoing issues at centre.

The 21-year-old is most comfortable in the second-row but, with the exception of a couple of costly missed tackles in the last couple of games, has proved a handy make-shift centre. He's dependable, usually defensively sound and has a good rugby league brain on him.

The Warriors have struggled at centre for the past couple of seasons and this year it's a position that's been beset with issues caused by injury and poor form.

Dane Nielsen and Konrad Hurrell were the preferred option at the start of the season but Nielsen has missed five games this season - he's due to return on Sunday against Newcastle at Mt Smart Stadium - and Hurrell was dropped to the Vulcans after seven games to work on his defence and handling.

Ngani Laumape impressed before his form dipped, Jerome Ropati played two games before injury once again intervened and Carlos Tuimavave has looked underwhelming in his two outings this season.

Henry didn't complete training last night but Warriors doctor John Mayhew said earlier today he was hopeful Henry hadn't done any serious damage and that he might even play against Newcastle on Sunday.

Scans proved otherwise and Henry is expected to have surgery in four weeks.

"It's devastating for Ben, for everyone,'' Warriors coach Matt Elliott said. "It hurts that much more because Ben has been one of our best players so far but he'll get the best of care and support from everyone here in his recovery.

"While injuries will always be part of the game, it's hugely disappointing for guys like Ben, Sione and Steve to be sitting out the year. We really feel for them.''

After appearing in all 24 matches last year, Henry had played seven games after a delayed start to this season. He joins teammates Sione Lousi and Steve Rapira who have already had surgery after having their campaigns ended by anterior cruciate ligament injuries.

Lousi ruptured the ACL in his right knee in the first preseason trial against Gold Coast in February and Rapira's season was ended playing for the Auckland Vulcans against the Mounties in the NSW Cup. Both are now recovering from operations.

Back-rower Todd Lowrie is also out of Sunday's clash against Newcastle as he battles to recover from a rib injury he picked up against Penrith but Nielsen and fullback Kevin Locke are expected to play.

It is a crucial match for the Warriors on so many levels.

"Hopefully you are going to see 17 blokes giving it their all, trying to get back some dignity and respect from our fans and families,'' Henry said before training on Wednesday. "And hopefully get a win.''

Sadly for Henry, he won't get that chance.

- APNZ

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