Knights coach wants Gidley in halves - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights coach wants Gidley in halves

By Ian McCullough 17/02/2010 08:50:13 PM Comments (0)

Kurt Gidley's knee injury hasn't altered Newcastle coach Rick Stone's plans to shift the NSW skipper into the halves alongside Jarrod Mullen for the 2010 NRL season.

Gidley will seek a second opinion from renowned Sydney surgeon Merv Cross on Thursday after being diagnosed with a torn tendon behind his kneecap, which could sideline him for up to 10 weeks.

The Knights captain had been cleared of damage to his anterior cruciate ligaments on Monday after limping off during Saturday's All Stars game on the Gold Coast, with details of the new injury only emerging on Tuesday.

The news is a blow to the Knights, who have already been named favourites for the wooden spoon, but Stone is confident his side can overcome the potential loss of Gidley, who was set to start the season at five-eighth.

Stone revealed he was planning to line-up Shannon McDonnell at fullback with Gidley playing alongside Mullen.

Former Wests Tiger McDonnell impressed the Knights coaching staff last season when he filled in for Gidley during State of Origin, and Stone is backing him to do so again.

"Shannon showed last year he is a real NRL player and we were planning on playing him at fullback at the start of this season and giving Gids some time in the halves," he told AAP.

"He will start at fullback and will do a job for us, he knows our structure really well and he will get first chance at No.1 and I wouldn't be surprised if he does enough to make it a full-time role even when Gids returns."

And Stone said he was hopeful rather than confident that his skipper will be avoid having to undergo surgery to repair the problem to the pes anserinus tendon which could sideline him for 10 weeks.

"We are just going to have to get a second opinion from Merv Cross so it is just a case keeping our fingers crossed," Stone said.

"Kurt is too valuable for us to take any risks so we need to make sure we get the best advice on the situation and hopefully he won't be out too long, but at the moment it really is a case of time will tell."

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