Warriors 'to make-do' without McKinnon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors 'to make-do' without McKinnon

By Steve Jancetic 20/02/2008 07:14:26 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand Warriors skipper Steve Price admits the Auckland-based outfit will need to re-model its game after star fullback Wade McKinnon was ruled out for the 2008 NRL season.

Scans revealed McKinnon had damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Friday night's pre-season trial against Newcastle in Auckland.

It was initially believed the injury would rule him out for three to four weeks, but the reality is now that McKinnon will need a total knee reconstruction which could sideline him for up to nine months.

McKinnon starred for the Warriors last year following his switch from Parramatta, Price saying the Warriors would now have to tailor their play to his replacement.

"We can't expect whoever is going to replace him to jump in and do the same things Wade did," Price said.

"When Webby left the club no-one thought that anyone could replace Brent Webb but Wade McKinnon came onto the scene.

"It just gives another guy an opportunity I suppose.

"(Coach Ivan Cleary's) got a couple of options there and we're just going to have to play to the strengths of those guys rather than worrying too much about what a big year Wade was going to have."

The most likely options for the No.1 jumper would appear to be Patrick Ah Van or utility Aidan Kirk, while former Kiwi Test utility Jerome Ropati could also be an option.

Cleary was philosophical about moving on without McKinnon, who was sensational in scoring nine tries in 22 games last year as the Warriors secured a top four finish.

"It's a real blow, you can't hide that, but these things happen," he said.

"We're going to have to get used to it and find a way to move on without him, which I'm sure we will."

Bookmakers weren't so sure the Warriors could recover with Sportingbet Australia moving them out from $15 to $17 to win the premiership.

Club doctor John Mayhew said the problem had not appeared to be serious at the time of the injury or during a medical check the following day.

"Our assessment was that Wade would be ready to play again in three or four weeks," he said.

"But the results of the scans took us by surprise."

Mayhew said knee specialist Barry Tietjens would operate on McKinnon next week.

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