NRL Casualty Ward: Turuva, Kautoga ruled out
Panthers premiership winner Sunia Turuva has been ruled out of Fiji’s Pacific Championship match against Papua New Guinea, along with Bulldogs forward Kitione Kautoga.
Turuva, who was the NRL rookie of the year, trained on his own during the captain’s run on Saturday in Port Moresby and Bati coach Wise Kativerata said he had suffered a calf injury.
“We have slightly changed [the line-up], as you have seen today, because Sunia has got a calf problem and Kitione has got a back problem,” Kativerata said.
“It’s not major but we thought we would give other kids as opportunity.”
Castleford speedster Jason Qarequare is set to make his international debut in place of Turuva, with Kaiviti Silktails forward Sirilo Lovokuro replacing Kautoga.
Meanwhile, Storm centre Justin Olam has been ruled out of Papua New Guinea’s Pacific Championships campaign due to an ongoing knee issue.
Olam was a notable absentee when the Kumuls returned to camp in Port Moresby after a week off to prepare for Sunday’s Test against Fiji and PNG coach Justin Olam said he would take no part in the tournament.
“The reason I originally named him in the 21 [man squad] was because we knew he wouldn’t be right for the first game,” Holbrook said.
“We had a week off so that gave us two more weeks to see how his knee would recover, but he’s still unable to run on it yet.
“I rang him after Cook Islands game to see where he was at and he said, ‘look, I just haven’t got the clearance from the physios’, which is understandable.
“He had the two extra weeks to try and recover but it wasn’t enough. He still needs a couple more weeks.”
The Kumuls have also lost Warrington-bound centre Rodrick Tai with a knee injury picked up against Cook Islands, while Featherstone’s McKenzie Yei has been training on his own since arriving from England with a knee problem.
He’s missed a few weeks through injury and obviously with a long flight, he’s just not right yet, so they’re gonna pretty much spend the week doing rehab and then we’ll just reassess him next week,” Holbrook said of Yei.
Dolphins forward Connelly Lemuelu will have further checks conducted on his knee after picking up an injury while away with Toa Samoa for the Pacific Championships.
The injury ruled Lemuelu out of the team’s second Test against New Zealand on October 21, with coach Ben Gardiner confirming he will have it looked over now that Samoa’s campaign is over.
Gardiner said while the injury was significant enough that the 25-year-old “was never going to play” against New Zealand, he didn’t believe it would restrict his return to pre-season training.
New Roosters recruit Dom Young will miss England’s Test series against Tonga after a sinus infection spread throughout his head and forced him to be hospitalised.