Gallen still hoping to start NRL season - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gallen still hoping to start NRL season

By Steve Jancetic 02/03/2009 07:07:03 PM Comments (0)

Paul Gallen could be a shock starter in Cronulla's NRL season-opener against Penrith after scans cleared the Sharks' skipper of a major knee injury.

Scans on Monday confirmed the Test forward suffered only bruising after hyper-extending his right knee in last Saturday night's trial win over Newcastle in Cessnock.

Cronulla's final hit-out of the pre-season looked like turning into a nightmare for coach Rickey Stuart with Gallen and new buys Reni Maitua and Anthony Tupou all taken from the field with injury.

Tupou was also cleared of any major damage after jarring his neck in a tackle, but former Bulldogs lock Maitua is likely to spend the first month of his Sharks career on the sidelines with ankle ligament damage.

He will spend the next 2-3 weeks wearing a protective boot.

Sharks coach Ricky Stuart said the prospect of having Gallen back on deck for the opening rounds was welcome relief after the early prognosis had him sidelined for up to six weeks.

"It's certainly not as bad as what we thought on Saturday night, which is really good news," Stuart told AAP on Monday.

"We haven't really got a time frame on Reni, we'll just see where it's at, see how he progresses with physio and rehab.

"It's better off being at this stage of the year than any other time I suppose."

Gallen was adamant he would face the Panthers on March 14.

"I want to play round one, I'll be fighting to play round one," he told reporters.

"It's the game I want to play, it's our first game at home and I'm really looking forward to it."

Prop Jacob Selmes, another casualty from the Knights trial, was still tender on Monday after dislocating his rib, with no word yet on his expected return date.

The news on another of Cronulla's walking wounded - halfback Brett Seymour - is also positive, with the former Brisbane playmaker eyeing a comeback in the round five clash against Canberra.

Seymour damaged his knee during Cronulla's finals run last season, when he collided with teammate Danny Nutley during a training drill.

"Everything is on track at the moment," Seymour said.

"We had a few mishaps a little while ago but we have caught all the ground up and everything is going well.

"It's definitely about getting my confidence back with a few weeks of hard training leading into the first round and if I can get that under my belt then I reckon I'll be ready."

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