Rising Rabbitohs forward Brock Gardner is set to miss most or all of the upcoming season after suffering an Achilles tear at training last Friday.
The 21-year-old back-rower, who is in South Sydney's top 30 squad, did the damage while accelerating in a drill, according to the club, and will require a recovery period of around 6-9 months. He had surgery on Monday and will return to the club in a fortnight to begin rehab.
Gardner, a Newcastle junior, is uncontracted for 2022.
Meanwhile, Brisbane's Corey Oates has avoided surgery on a broken hand suffered at training, keeping him in contention for a trial hit out and a round one switch to the back row.
Oates was set for a 4-6 week recovery from the pre-season injury, receiving good news from his surgical consult last Monday (January 10) that he had avoided going under the knife.
A month of restricted training duties still gives the Queensland Origin flyer a decent chance of playing in the February 27 trial match with North Queensland.
More importantly he is no doubt for Brisbane's round one clash against the Eels on March 12, with Oates targeting a long-awaited move from the wing to second row in 2021.
The Titans have confirmed that five-eighth Ash Taylor is set to play in their trial against the Warriors in Lismore on February 27 as he nears full fitness following off-season hips and wrist surgery.
Forward recruit Sam McIntyre is set to don the Gold Coast jersey for the first time in that clash with the club pleased with his progress from a stress fracture in his foot.
Fullback AJ Brimson is likely to be fit for round one having initially said he hoped to return from his Lisfranc ligament injury in a trial.
The Casualty Ward
Corey Oates has avoided surgery on a broken hand suffered at training and is due back in the pre-season trials.
Strike centre Kotoni Staggs said in October that he was targeting a round 13 return from an ACL injury in 2021. Returning hooker Andrew McCullough told the Broncos website in December that his surgically-repaired hamstring is coming along well.
- Andrew McCullough (hamstring, trials)
- Corey Oates (hand, trials)
- Tom Flegler (shoulder, round 1)
- Kotoni Staggs (knee, mid-season)
Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker is racing the clock to return in round one after shoulder surgery with a round 3-4 timeframe more likely.
- Josh Hodgson (knee, round 1)
- Ryan Sutton (knee, round 1)
- Corey Horsburgh (foot, round 1)
- Emre Guler (ankle, round 1)
- Curtis Scott (leg, round 1)
- Bailey Simonsson (shoulder, round 1)
- Jarrod Croker (shoulder, rounds 3-4)
The club confirmed winger Christian Crichton suffered an ACL injury prior to the Christmas break with the former Panther set to be sidelined for the season.
Dylan Napa (knee) is on track to play in the trials.
- Adam Elliott (shoulder, trials)
- Joe Stimson (shoulder, trials)
- Dylan Napa (knee, trials)
- Raymond Faitala-Mariner (ankle, round one)
- Jayden Okunbor (knee, mid-late season)
- Christian Crichton (knee, season)
- Blayke Brailey (ankle, trials)
- Matt Moylan (hamstring, trials)
- Siosifa Talakai (shoulder, round 1-3)
- Shaun Johnson (achilles, round 8-10)
- Royce Hunt (knee, round 8-10)
- Bronson Xerri (suspended, indefinite)
Titans fullback AJ Brimson has declared that "round one is 100% on the cards" as he aims to return from an ankle injury in the trials.
David Fifita is nearing the end of his rehab from a syndesmosis injury.
Five-eighth Ash Taylor has progressed nicely after hips and wrist surgeries and should be ready for the trial against the Warriors in February.
- David Fifita (ankle, trials)
- AJ Brimson (foot, trials)
- Jai Whitbread (ankle, trials)
- Ash Taylor (hip/wrist, trials)
- Sam McIntyre (foot, trials)
Centre Moses Suli was slated to rejoin the full squad after the Christmas break as he nears the end of his recovery from a foot injury.
- Tom Trbojevic (shoulder, trials)
- Josh Aloiai (knee, trials)
- Dylan Walker (foot, round 1)
- Kieran Foran (pectoral, round 1)
- Cade Cust (ankle, round 1)
- Josh Schuster (ankle, round 1)
- Jorge Taufua (Achilles, April)
- Moses Suli (foot, TBC)
- Manase Fainu (stood down/shoulder)
Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien said key duo Kalyn Ponga (shoulder) and Blake Green (knee) may miss the early rounds as they recover from surgery.
While O'Brien said neither player was expected to miss any great deal of the 2021 season, he may have to plan for them being on the sidelines during the opening weeks.
- Jayden Brailey (knee, trials)
- Connor Watson (achilles, trials/round 1)
- Kalyn Ponga (shoulder, rounds 1-4)
- Blake Green (knee, rounds 5-8)
- Michael Morgan (calf, round 1)
- Blake Ferguson (knee, round 1)
- Maika Sivo (knee, round 1)
- Marata Niukore (suspended, round 2)
- Michael Jennings (suspended, indefinite)
- Charlie Staines (hamstring, trials)
- Braidon Burns (knee, trials)
- Latrell Mitchell (hamstring, trials)
- Taane Milne (knee, trials)
- Brock Gardner (ankle, indefinite)
Dragons coach Anthony Griffin said star signing Jack Bird was set to rejoin the main group for training in mid-January but everything was headed in the right direction.
"He is still a really young man, he is fit, he has been a little bit out of luck injury-wise but everything I have seen so far from the way he is moving at the moment and where his mind is at he is really gearing up for a big season," Griffin said.
- Jack Bird (knee, trials)
- Billy Brittain (shoulder, round 1)
- Jack de Belin (stood down)
Roosters duo Victor Radley and Sam Verrills remain on track to return from knee injuries in the early rounds of the Telstra Premiership next season.
- Siosiua Taukeiaho (knee, trials)
- Billy Smith (knee, trials)
- Victor Radley (knee, early rounds)
- Sam Verrills (knee, early rounds)
- Leeson Ah Mau (pectoral, trials)
- Jackson Frei (knee, trials)
- Bunty Afoa (knee, trials)
- Karl Lawton (Achilles, indefinite)
- James Roberts (pectoral, trials)
- Billy Walters (knee, indefinite)