WARNING: Graphic image
Manly Sea Eagles forward Joel Thompson has suffered a horrific tongue injury during Sunday's loss to the Newcastle Knights.
Following the two-point defeat at McDonald Jones Stadium, teammate Curtis Sironen posted an image of Thompson to his Instagram — the 31-year-old's tongue was split in half, with a healthy amount of blood smeared around his lips.
Sironen captioned the image: "He's tough the old bush goat."
After the photo was uploaded to Twitter, Thompson replied: "Just save my teeth, that's all I care about."
It is unclear what caused the nasty tongue split, but the second rower is not expected to miss any upcoming matches. However, Manly will be sweating on fullback Brendan Elliot, who was taken off the field with a knee injury on Sunday.
After the match, Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler confirmed Elliot had injured his ACL — with superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic not expected to return for another two weeks, Manly are in dire straits.
Hasler also mentioned the wayward penalty count, but was careful not to repeat Ivan Cleary's $20,000 blunder and question the officials' integrity.
"Ashley found an 11-3 penalty count so that would be my only gripe, it kind of kept them in the game," Hasler told reporters.
"I don't mind the 11 against, just want a few more than three. I could have got Newcastle for off-side probably six times.
"Get Bernie Sutton to do a review of Ashley on his penalties … just an explanation.
"I was being facetious … it was just a joke, you can't get a fine for being facetious. Might have to explain the meaning to Bernie."
After slipping to tenth spot on the NRL ladder, the Sea Eagles will be eager to rediscover their form when they take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs next Saturday.