Hunt's injury jeopardises Lockyer's rest - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hunt's injury jeopardises Lockyer's rest

By Wayne Heming 10/05/2011 05:31:59 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane's plans to nurse veteran captain Darren Lockyer through the State of Origin period may have to be revised after utility Ben Hunt was ruled out of NRL action for at least a month.

Halfback and hooker Hunt, seen as a key figure in coach Anthony Griffin's planning for the post-Lockyer era, has been booked for surgery on Wednesday on a badly broken finger.

Fellow youngster Corey Norman was named on Tuesday in Hunt's place on the bench for Friday night's clash with Penrith.

"He's snapped his ring finger at the top, it's in three pieces," Griffin told AAP on Tuesday.

"He's going to be a month at least.

"We weren't aware of it after the game but it seized up on him and he had a scan and needs surgery.

"We're getting a few of those injuries now."

Hunt would have been integral to any plan Griffin formed to ease the load on Queensland skipper Lockyer by sitting him out of the heavyweight NRL clash against Manly at Brookvale Oval just two days after Origin 1 on May 25.

They could repeat the tactic for the blockbuster against premiers St George Illawarra on June 17 at Suncorp Stadium, again only 48 hours after Origin II to ensure Lockyer is fresher for the run into the finals.

However Griffin said nothing was settled in regards to Lockyer's role in either NRL game yet.

"I'm not saying he (Lockyer) is going to rest," Griffin said.

"But if it gets to the point where the risk is higher than the reward then we'd rest him.

"But then again, he might play.

"We'll just see how everyone is after the Origin. We've got two days' break which is a little better than one, but nothing is set in concrete with Darren."

Griffin is concerned for Lockyer's welfare and acutely aware Brisbane were headed for the finals last season until his champion playmaker hurt his ribs.

Meanwhile representative centre Justin Hodges was isolated from his team-mates on Tuesday after coming down with the flu.

A star in Australia's 20-10 Test victory over New Zealand last Friday, Hodges is not considered in any doubt for the clash with Penrith at Centrebet Stadium.

Hodges was one of four Test players returned to Brisbane's line-up to play the Panthers along with Lockyer and forwards Sam Thaiday and Ben Hannant.

Hodges is expected to train on Thursday before the team heads to the Blue Mountains aiming to bounce back from last weekend's gritty 29-22 loss to Melbourne, which ended their seven-match winning streak.

Griffin has named three props, Scott Anderson, Mitchell Dodds and another youngster David Hala, on his bench, anticipating an aggressive clash with a desperate Penrith.

"Friday night in Penrith and they're coming off a bye, it's a real good challenge for us to go down there and wrestle the points off them," said Griffin.

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