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Injury blows ahead of Tri-Nations

By Laine Clark 04/10/2005 06:32:00 PM Comments (0)

Injury dealt a savage blow to Australia and New Zealand's Tri-Nations campaigns after Nathan Hindmarsh was ruled out for the Kangaroos and Kiwi duo Benji Marshall and Dene Halatau were booked for surgery.

St George Illawarra's Ben Creagh replaced Parramatta backrower Hindmarsh who stormed out of Australia's Sydney camp within half an hour of his arrival after medical staff ruled he was "at least a month" away from recovering from a knee injury.

And NRL champions Wests Tigers confirmed Marshall and Halatau had been booked for shoulder surgery early next week and would not only miss Tri-Nations but also the World Club Challenge and possibly the first "couple of rounds" of the NRL 2006 season.

Hindmarsh suffered posterior cruciate damage to his right knee in the final NRL regular season clash for the Eels and was forced to watch from the sidelines as Parramatta crashed out in the preliminary final.

But that was nothing compared to the pain of failing a fitness test just minutes into Australia's first training session.

Seven-Test veteran Hindmarsh, 26, did not stop to talk after being given the horror news, showing no signs of the knee injury as he powered to his car and quickly drove off.

"He won't be going with us. The doctor is not satisfied that his leg has recovered enough, we think that it is in his best interest to stay at home," Australian coach Wayne Bennett said.

"The doctor thinks it will be three or four weeks at least to recover.

"It would be a burden on the rest of the team if we do (take him) - it makes the tour a lot more difficult trying to juggle players around and getting them ready for games.

"It was just a time issue and the doctor is not prepared to take the risk, it's still got a lot of fluid around the knee."

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