New South Wales coach Brad Fittler has revealed that it’s “unlikely” star halfback Nathan Cleary plays in Origin III.
Cleary injured his right shoulder in Sunday night’s 26-0 Game II win, and managed to play out the remaining 70 minutes of the game while dealing with considerable pain.
New South Wales head of performance Hayden Knowles told The Sydney Morning Herald that Cleary even refused to go off in the second half when he was offered a rest.
Despite playing out the match, Fittler says his star playmaker is headed in for scans today that should see him ruled out of the next clash.
“He’ll get his shoulder scanned,” Fittler said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.
“We’ll get his results today, but it’s looking pretty unlikely that he’ll play.
“He went down pretty hard on his shoulder Nathan.
“We’re just sort of hoping that everything will be good enough that he’ll be back fighting for the Panthers soon enough.
“He’s had a great start to the season, and he’s under a lot of pressure, but he more than stood up on the big stage.”
While effectively ruling Cleary out, Fittler refused to name any potential replacement at this early stage.
“Speaking to Nathan will be the first thing we do,” Fittler explained.
“There’s a few options and obviously there’s some halfbacks playing really good footy that are from New South Wales, so that’s fantastic.
“But, we’ll do one thing before the other I think.”