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Results of a scan today have confirmed Vodafone Warriors centre Jerome Ropati will miss the rest of the NRL season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in yesterday's third-round defeat by St George Illawarra at Mount Smart Stadium.
The 26-year-old NRL veteran was left clutching his left knee after making a desperate tackle on his Kiwi team-mate Jason Nightingale just before halftime. Vodafone Warriors team doctor John Mayhew said the scan had confirmed the worst-possible outcome.
"Jerome has been reviewed by a surgeon (Stu Walsh) and will be operated on in one to two weeks, once his knee settles down," he said. "His recovery period will be about six months, ruling him out for the rest of the season."
Vodafone Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said everyone at the club felt for Ropati.
"It's devastating for Jerome. I just feel so sorry for him," he said. "Obviously it's a huge disappointment for all of us at the club."
Ropati, an 11-Test Kiwi international, was making his 130th appearance for the club yesterday. He'd been in outstanding form, named the players' player of the day after his two-try performance in the first-round encounter with Parramatta at Eden Park on March 12.
He becomes the fourth Vodafone Warriors player in four years struck down by what were originally rated season-ending ACL injuries. Fullback Wade McKinnon needed surgery after damaging his ACL in a trial against Newcastle in 2008. It was thought he wouldn't play at all that season but he returned for the final few NRL games.
Centre Brent Tate wasn't so fortunate, an ACL knee injury ending his 2009 campaign just three rounds into the season while promising utility Elijah Taylor was also sidelined long-term after injuring his knee in a training session just before the opening trial of the 2010 season. He recovered in time to play the tail-end of the Vodafone Junior Warriors' NYC season, captaining the side in the grand final win against South Sydney.