While it appeared the Sharks had survived their trial match with Manly without any significant injuries to report, x-rays have since revealed that Kyle Flanagan suffered a broken thumb, meaning the young half back is set to be sidelined for the opening rounds of the 2018 season.
Flanagan sustained the injury not long after taking to the field, but in combination with Chad Townsend, then later alongside Trent Hodkinson, managed to put a stamp on the game with a couple of clever touches that led to tries.
With Flanagan showing plenty of toughness to continue despite the injury, Sharks Physical Performance Manager Andrew Gray and his medical staff were hoping for the best but explained that x-rays later confirmed their worst fears.
“It occurred early in the game and at the time we were hoping it was something minor,” Gray said. “Kyle is now in a splint and with a likely timeframe on his return being in round three or four.
“While there will be things he can’t do, being young it gives our physical performance staff an opportunity to put more work into other facets of his physical development.”
Starting with the match with the combination of Townsend and new recruit Matt Moylan, Flanagan was the Sharks first halves interchange in last weekend’s trial match with Manly.
Flanagan played around 15 minutes in the opening half, in place of Moylan who made a brief switch to fullback, before he returned after half time with another newcomer to the club in Hodkinson as his halves partner.
Still just 19 years of age, Flanagan could have been expected to begin his year either with the Newtown Jets in the Intrust Super Premiership or as a member of the Sharks Jersey Flegg squad, however his 2018 season will now have to wait until his injury has fully healed.
Coach Shane Flanagan is expected to name close to a full-strength squad for his team’s final pre-season trial against the Wests Tigers on Saturday night.
Kangaroos Josh Dugan and Wade Graham are almost certain starters, with Andrew Fifita, Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis, Ricky Leutele and Matt Prior also set to also take part after being kept out of the game against the Sea Eagles last week.
The NRL trial match between the Sharks and Wests Tigers is scheduled for a 7.00pm kick-off at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday. That match will be preceded by an Intrust Super Premiership game between Newtown and the Wests Tigers and a Sharks v Tigers Jersey Flegg trial.