#rain : Digital Image Grant Trouville  © nrlphotos : NRL Rugby League - Round 6 : Cronulla Sharks v Newcastle Knights at Remondis Stadium, Friday April 10th 2015.

Sharks skipper Paul Gallen is expected to be out of action for an extended period after scans have revealed his hip/gluteal injury to be worse than first thought.

Gallen played through the pain in the Sharks wins over the Knights and Roosters but withdrew from the Rabbitohs clash when the injury failed to improve or respond to treatment.

The injury rules him out of Sunday’s match against the Penrith Panthers and also the Australia v New Zealand Test match the following weekend.

“The injury is worse than we thought initially and I’m not sure at this stage when I will be able to return. Obviously we will get the best medical treatment and advice and I’ll be back as soon as possible,” Gallen said.

“I’m certainly out this weekend and I’ve called Tim Sheens to inform him I won’t be right for the Test Match.”

The injury is a blow to the Sharks and to the Kangaroo team, with Gallen a certain selection when fit for the Australian side, while he is also approaching a significant club milestone with his 250th NRL game for the club just three matches away.

Sam Tagataese, named in jersey 21 on an extended Sharks bench, is expected to come into the Sharks team for the Panthers game on Sunday.