update: Roosters & Panthers


Sydney Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello is facing back surgery which is expected to rule him out of this year's State of Origin series.

Minichiello, who was forced out of Friday night's Test match against New Zealand when the injury flared last week, will seek a second opinion this week before a making a decision on surgery. The 2005 Golden Boot winner says the pain is so great he struggles to put his socks on in the morning. Back surgery would rule him out for six to eight weeks.

It leaves the NSW fullback spot wide open, with St George Illawarra custodian Ben Hornby and Wests Tigers skipper Brett Hodgson to play off for the position when they clash in Friday night's City-Country game in Dubbo.

Meanwhile, a corked thigh could prevent Penrith hooker Luke Priddis from taking his place in the Country Origin side for Friday night's clash against City Origin in Dubbo. Priddis was forced from the field midway with the leg injury midway through the first half of Penrith's loss to North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday night.

There is also some doubt over the availability of Panthers teammate and City Origin skipper Craig Gower, who has missed Penrith's last two matches with a rib cartilage complaint. Both the Country and City sides will gather in Sydney this morning for medicals before flying out for their respective camps. The Country Origin squad will spend the week in Dubbo, while City Origin will stay in Parkes until Thursday afternoon.