NRL: Warriors lose Matulino to knee injury

By David Skipwith

The Warriors have been dealt a blow with forward utility Ben Matulino set to undergo knee surgery on Friday. Photo / Getty Images.
The Warriors have been dealt a blow with forward utility Ben Matulino set to undergo knee surgery on Friday. Photo / Getty Images.

The Warriors have been dealt a blow with forward utility Ben Matulino set to undergo knee surgery on Friday.

The prop turned second-rower sustained knee cartilage damage in last weekend's loss to South Sydney in Perth and will be out of action for two to three weeks.

"Unfortunately Ben will go in for surgery this Friday. It's only minor surgery so hopefully he'll only be out for a max of two weeks around theses byes," Warriors coach Andrew McFadden explained today. "It's just a slight tidy up of the cartilage so it will just be two or three weeks."

Matulino's presence will be missed on the Warriors' left edge where he has produced some outstanding performances in recent weeks, through his ability to offload to support runners or power ahead against smaller opposition defenders.

Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds was a frequent target for the 25-year-old last Saturday, while he also managed to post the first try in three successive weeks, against the Raiders, Bulldogs, and Titans.

The Warriors have their first bye this weekend, followed by two home games against the Broncos and Panthers, before their second bye round. If Matulino's recovery goes as planned he could be ready to return to action for the round 18 clash against the Eels on July 12.

The Warriors have a number of other players joining him on the injured list, with utility Ben Henry (knee) and five-eighth Thomas Leuluai (groin) due back in the coming weeks, while towering forward Sam Lousi will return to NSW Cup action this weekend against Cronulla in Gisborne.

"Ben Henry is looking OK at the moment, we've given him a good hit-out today and assuming his knee pulls up well tomorrow he'll be in for contention for selection next week," McFadden said.

Leuluai's return date is more uncertain with the club being careful not to rush him back. "We're treating it fairly conservatively at the moment because we don't want to tip him over and really set him back. He's going to be very valuable for us at the end of the year and we've just got to make sure that we give him the right plan forward."

Meanwhile, the club is continuing to work through issues with fullback Kevin Locke, who has sought an early release to join English Super League club Salford.

"We're dealing with Kevin at the moment. We're obviously discussing a few things with Salford. All I can really tell you is a decision will be made in the best interests of the club and for Kevin."

McFadden expressed frustration at comments made via Twitter yesterday, by Salford owner Marwan Koukash, claiming the Red Devils had agreed to terms and thanking the Warriors for granting Locke's immediate release.

"It is a little frustrating because nothing's been settled yet. He's obviously quite comfortable with himself, the owner there, so I'm sure he's not got too many problems in his life."

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 02 Oct 2014 14:23:04 Processing Time: 675ms