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'We don’t know whether he will play again': Bennett's Flegler concern

Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett has conceded the club don't know if star forward Thomas Flegler will play again in his career, let alone this season, after discovering a nerve issue in his shoulder.

A star off-season recruit from the Broncos, Flegler suffered the shoulder injury in the Dolphins' Round 5 win over Wests Tigers. 

At the time, the club were hopeful the issue would be minor, but have since found an ongoing nerve problem which is a medical mystery for Dolphins medical staff to solve. 

“Thomas Flegler, we don’t know when he’ll be back,’ Bennett said.

“He is in a situation where we don’t know whether he will play again or when he will play. There are so many unanswered questions out there right now, that’s where it is.

“If it’s improving, it is very slow, but it is nowhere near being able to play or determine what his future looks like.

“You have just got to deal with it; it’s what is. There’s no good being a sook about it, but he has been good, I think he has handled it well.

“He’s looking for the best advice from the best medical people he can and the staff that are involved with him, so he’s getting the best of everything and he is dealing with it.

“He wants to play every week, but he can’t.

“The nerve hasn’t repaired itself and there is not much they can do until it repairs itself. If it doesn’t repair itself, then that’s the situation.”

Bennett however has downplayed the reports of the Maroons representative undergoing a nerve transfer saying “I don’t think that will be happening”.

Tom Flegler suffered his shoulder injury which has kept him sidelined in Round 5.
Tom Flegler suffered his shoulder injury which has kept him sidelined in Round 5. ©Zain Mohammed / NRL Images

The unavailability of Flegler has been compounded the season-ending ACL injury suffered by Thomas Gilbert, with the forward stocks taking a hit. 

Dolphins captain Jesse Bromwich will also miss what’s shaping as an important match against the Sharks tomorrow night due to the rib cartilage injury he sustained in the Round 13 loss to Canberra.

In an effort to replenish their pack, the Dolphins filled their last remaining spot on the roster last week by signing former Broncos, Bulldogs and Blues forward Tevita Pangai Junior.

The aggressive forward – who has been playing with Souths Logan Magpies in the Hostplus Cup this season in amongst training for and taking part in boxing bouts – has not been named by Bennett for their Round 15 clash, but has commenced training with the club after missing the start of the week with illness.

Bennett said the Tongan international would be in contention for selection for their potential top four Round 16 match up against the Storm.

“The season is getting away from us so we can’t keep him here and not play him,” Bennett said.

“He will be right to go next week; he’s been playing for Souths Logan ... He might be starting yet. Let’s worry about him next week.”

The Sharks returned to the winners circle in a big way last week with a 22-12 win against the Broncos, with Bennett saying the challenge that lay ahead for his side on their first trip down to Sydney this season wasn’t any different to what they had faced already.

“I thought we have been playing a lot of tough games,” Bennett said.

“I didn't think this week was going to be any different than other weeks we’ve had.

“We were in New Zealand two weeks ago and that was pretty tough game and Canberra was tough here; it's just the season.

“We're ready for it, we've prepared well, and we'll see how it goes after that.”


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