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Gower out for another week

By Laine Clark 15/06/2004 05:25:31 AM Comments (0)

In another blow to NRL defending premiers Penrith, captain and halfback Craig Gower is expected to spend another week nursing a knee injury.

Gower was considered a chance for the last round 28-8 home loss to St George Illawarra but pulled out to regain full fitness.

However, Gower - who suffered the injury in NSW's 9-8 Origin I victory over Queensland on May 26 - is expected to delay his comeback until the round 16 home clash against the Eels.

Adding to the Panthers' woes, pivot Preston Campbell (knee) and centre Ryan Girdler are not expected back on the paddock until round 17.

It's hardly music to the ears of Panthers coach John Lang who has also had to contend with the heavy toll of State of Origin duty.

Five players were unavailable for the Panthers' last round flogging - it's second straight loss - due to Origin II.

"Every team goes through it - it's just something you have to deal with," Lang said after the Dragons win.

In some welcome good news, backrower Tony Puletua (leg) and Brett Howland (head knock) are expected to play against Cronulla at Toyota Park on Sunday.

It would mark a remarkable recovery by Howland who went off in the first half against Dragons in a neck brace, only to play all of the second stanza.

For the Sharks, fullback David Peachey (thigh) is expected to play while centre Nigel Vagana (ankle) is only rated a "50-50" chance.

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