MAJOR injuries to some big name NRL stars threaten to cast a shadow over the start of the 2004 season. Test players Jason Ryles (Dragons) and Brent Tate (Broncos) have serious doubts over their immediate playing futures after what can only be described as preventable damage to their injured shoulders. Both players were hurt mid-way through the season and opinion at the time was they risked very little long-term injury even if they played on in discomfort. Only a freakish landing on the joint of the shoulder would risk more damage and low and behold, that occurred. Ryles and Tate have serious nerve damage in their shoulders as a result, and while the players made the decision to continue competing, they also put their careers on the line. Now the game may be robbed of two fantastic careers because of the ?professionalism tag? our athletes now perform under. No player likes to be seen as soft, but there must also be genuine consideration given to the long-term health of individuals over the importance of few games of rugby league.
NRL Notebook has learned that 255-game veteran Michael Buettner is on the verge of announcing his retirement from Rugby League after failing to overcome a crippling knee injury. The 30-year-old Wests Tigers utility back was in great form for the club early last year before his knee complications and has been rehabilitating the injury ever since.
NRL Notebook: February 15, 2004
By Warrick Nicolson, Nicolson Sports Consultancy
THE following NRL teams have been announced for this weekend?s trials, LU has collated them for your convenience: