NRL injury news 2022: State of Origin Casualty ward, Cameron Munster, Kalyn Ponga, Payne Haas

With Queensland and NSW counting the cost of a bruising State of Origin clash, two of the team’s biggest casualties have been assessed. Latest injury news inside.

Queensland’s Origin hopes have received a huge boost with star pivot Cameron Munster cleared of season-ending shoulder surgery and on track to be fit for the Suncorp decider against NSW on July 13.

But the Blues have also had a win after Brisbane and NSW enforcer Payne Haas (ankle) told the Broncos he is ready to play through the pain barrier in Saturday night’s derby against the Cowboys in Townsville.

Munster injured his shoulder after being crunched by NSW centre Stephen Crichton in Queensland’s 44-12 loss last Sunday night and left Perth’s Optus Stadium with his left arm in a sling.

There were initial fears Munster could require surgery, a scenario that would have left his Origin III hopes and Storm club season in tatters, but it is understood scans have cleared the Maroons maestro of serious damage to his AC joint.

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Cameron Munster won’t require surgery on his shoulder. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty
Cameron Munster won’t require surgery on his shoulder. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty

Munster is unlikely to play against Manly on Thursday night at Brookvale, but he will almost certainly be chosen by Queensland coach Billy Slater this Sunday night with a view to being needled for Origin III.

Munster’s NSW Origin rival, Haas, has managed to soldier on for the Broncos over the past month with AC joint damage in both shoulders and the Maroons will back their tough-as-nails pivot to do the same in the Suncorp decider.

Queensland would have been at long odds to overcome NSW without Munster, but his mere presence at Suncorp, bolstered by a painkilling injection, would give the Maroons the fighting chance they crave in Game Three.

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“Cameron has an AC joint irritation which is stable and it’s predominantly a pain-management issue,” a Storm medico said.

“A decision with his availability (for the Manly round 16 clash) will be decided in the next couple of days.”

The Storm ace admitted he struggled to deal with the pain as NSW ran riot in a 30-0 second-half cakewalk in Perth, but the prospect of reprising his 2020 Origin heroics at Suncorp is sure to ignite the competitive fire in Munster.

“I pulled up a little bit sore 45 minutes into the game,” he said.

“I was a little bit of a passenger after that.

“I’ll be making sure I do everything I can to be right for Game Three. Hopefully I can be.

“Fingers crossed I can get myself right.”

Payne Haas in a moon boot after the game.
Payne Haas in a moon boot after the game.
Kalyn Ponga was crunched by Nathan Cleary. Picture: Channel 9
Kalyn Ponga was crunched by Nathan Cleary. Picture: Channel 9

While the Maroons sweat on Munster and gun fullback Kalyn Ponga (head knock), the Blues will be hoping their No.1 prop, Haas, comes through the Queensland derby unscathed.

Already battling dual shoulder problems, Haas suffered fresh pain in Origin II when his left leg collided with the knee of Maroons hooker Ben Hunt as the NSW prop charged into the teeth of the Queensland defence.

Scans have cleared Haas of major damage. The 22-year-old has a minor high-ankle sprain and has been named in Brisbane’s starting front row for their derby showdown with the Cowboys at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Broncos skipper Adam Reynolds is confident his engine-room teammate will handle a Cowboys onslaught before returning to NSW camp for Origin III.

“Most of the boys in this club want to play for the Broncos, they are passionate about playing through injuries and Payne is no different,” he said.

“We are playing for one another, that’s the culture we are building at the club.

“It’s an honour to put the Broncos jumper on and Payne is no different, he’s a great competitor.”

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Kalyn Ponga will need a medical clearance to play in Origin III as Wayne Bennett hits out at the bunker’s intervention in ruling out players.

Ponga will not line-up for Newcastle in their clash against Gold Coast on Friday which looms as an important match-up for both struggling clubs.

There is no certainty Ponga will be cleared to play in the Origin decider having suffered his second head knock in three weeks. Ponga will have to meet with a specialist to be given the all clear to return to the field.

Naturally there are frustrations by the bunker’s decision to rule Ponga’s head knock a category one – forcing him to skip Friday’s clash.

This came despite Ponga passing his medical assessments with the Queensland medical staff. Nathan Cleary was cleared by the match review committee for the contact which resulted in Ponga leaving the field with 10 minutes left in the game. Ponga was Queensland’s best with two try assists. The Knights also need him to arrest their form slump.

Dolphins coach Bennett stated his frustrations by the bunker’s ability to rule players out despite club’s medicos being able to make an assessment.

“That’s out of (the bunker’s) control,” Bennett said on ABC Sport on Sunday.

“Once the players been taken off the ground I can’t believe the bunker can still be ruling when you have a whole series of tests and other things to go through.”

Kalyn Ponga is in doubt for the State of Origin decider at Suncorp as he deals with his latest head knock. Picture: Getty
Kalyn Ponga is in doubt for the State of Origin decider at Suncorp as he deals with his latest head knock. Picture: Getty

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Queensland and NSW are counting the cost of a brutal State of Origin clash that has left both Cameron Munster and Payne Haas in doubt for the series decider.

Maroons star Munster suffered a shoulder injury in Queensland’s 44-12 loss to the Blues which relegated him to being a “passenger” in Perth.

While NSW and Brisbane prop Haas was spotted sporting a moon boot in the dressing room after the game with Blues officials fearing he had suffered a high ankle sprain.

Cameron Munster says a shoulder injury left him a ‘passenger’ for the Maroons, and he will need scans to assess the damage. Picture: Getty Images.
Cameron Munster says a shoulder injury left him a ‘passenger’ for the Maroons, and he will need scans to assess the damage. Picture: Getty Images.

The injury to Haas will also have the Broncos nervous ahead of their Round 16 Queensland derby clash with fellow high flyers the Cowboys on Saturday afternoon.

Munster left Optus Stadium on Sunday night with his left arm in a sling and is racing the clock to prove his fitness for Game Three at Suncorp Stadium on July 13.

Munster was man-of-the-match in Queensland’s Origin I upset victory in Sydney and if he is ruled out it will be a massive blow to the Maroons’ hopes of clinching the series on home soil.

The Storm five-eighth is set to undergo scans upon returning to Melbourne and is at long odds to feature in Friday night’s NRL game against Manly.

Coach Billy Slater will select his Origin III team on Sunday night and there is just over two weeks until the series finale in Brisbane.

With the series locked at 1-all, Munster said he is hopeful of taking the field for the decider.

“I pulled up a little bit sore 45 minutes into the game,” he said.

“I got a shoulder from (Stephen) Crichton about five minutes into the second half. I tried my best but wasn’t good enough.

“I was a little bit of a passenger. Hopefully it’s all good.

“It was shoulder on shoulder. My body’s not holding up as good as I’d like it to. Fingers crossed I can get myself right.

“I’ll be making sure I do everything I can to be right for Game Three. Hopefully I can be.

“We’ll get a scan tomorrow and go from there.”

Munster wasn’t the only injury concern for the Maroons following the 32-point drubbing.

Fullback Kalyn Ponga left the field with 10 minutes to go after being hit high and heavy by Blues halfback Nathan Cleary.

Ponga has had concussion issues recently and is likely to be ruled out of Newcastle’s team for Friday night’s home game against the Gold Coast Titans.

With two try assists, Ponga was Queensland’s best player in Perth and may not play again before the Origin decider.

“He copped a bit of a shot to the head when he was hitting the ground,” Slater said.

“He staggered on the field so we made sure he came straight off and was okay.

“He missed out on the game before Canberra with a head knock so we’ve got to make sure he’s okay.

“In the sheds he seemed fine, but the doctors will assess him.”

Maroons prop Lindsay Collins and Blues back-rower Cameron Murray both underwent HIAs during Sunday night’s game but were cleared to return.

Meanwhile, Big man Payne Haas will re-examine his pre-season preparations at the Broncos after the NSW prop boarded a flight back home to Brisbane in a moon boot.

Haas sent a scare through the Broncos camp as he limped off the field in the Blues’ 44-12 win over Queensland in Perth.

Haas told The Daily Telegraph Blues medical staff were concerned that he had picked up a ‘high ankle sprain’ putting him in doubt for Saturday’s blockbuster Queensland derby against the Cowboys on Saturday night.

This latest injury is the third for Haas in the space of six weeks with the forward already carrying separate AC joint complaints to both shoulders.

Haas had both shoulders needled to play on Sunday night.

“I’ve got a few injuries happening at the moment this season, first my shoulders and now my ankle. I have never had that before” Haas said.

“At the end of the year I’ll probably look at what I can do better in the pre-season so I can stop this from happening again. I have been lucky, I haven’t had too many injury problems during the years but I don’t know why all of a sudden this year... I’m frustrated at the moment but I’ll get an MRI on my ankle and see what happens.

NSW star Payne Haas was spotted in a moon boot after the Blues' Game II win.
NSW star Payne Haas was spotted in a moon boot after the Blues' Game II win.

“I get scans in a couple of today but god willing it’s all right. It is what it is. I’m a bit frustrated at the moment. They said it might be a high ankle sprain.”

The forward picked up the injury in an innocuous hit-up during his first carry in the second half.

“It was in the second half, I think it happened in my first run coming back on, I felt something. I thought it was just a cork at first but I couldn’t get going after that, I kept on limping everywhere,” Haas said.

“I need to watch the video again myself, because I’m not sure exactly what happened, it just started getting sore after that hit up. I thought it was cork at first but it just didn’t get better.”

Losing Haas to an ankle injury is not only a blow for the Broncos but also for Brad Fittler ahead of the State of Origin decider in Brisbane on July 13.

Haas is preparing to face a hostile Suncorp Stadium crowd for the second time in a matter of weeks, if cleared to play in Origin III.

Back in round 12, the 22-year old drew the ire of Broncos faithful as loud booed rang through the stadium every time his face flashed on the big screen and when he ran the ball.

Broncos fans were making their feelings known about a request for an early release from his contract at Red Hill made by Haas’ management.

Haas admitted the bitter response left him feeling ‘rattled’.

But the powerful forward will be ready for anything a Maroons crowd dish out in two weeks time in the Origin decider.

“I’m used to it now,” Haas said with a laugh.

“I got booed by my own crowd, so I’m used to it now so it’s all right.

“I’ve played a few games at Suncorp Stadium now in Origin and I know what to expect. Hopefully I’m right to play. I really want to play game three, it’s a good game to play and it’s such a hostile crowd and to win one there it will be pretty special.”

Originally published as NRL injury news 2022: State of Origin Casualty ward, Cameron Munster, Kalyn Ponga, Payne Haas