Australia

Wounded NSW Waratahs face captaincy conundrum after Jake Gordon blow

www.smh.com.au

The side’s woes were compounded when No.12 Joey Walton also left the field because of an ankle complaint. Next Saturday the Waratahs face the Brumbies, who knocked off the Western Force 27-11 in Perth on Friday.

The Waratahs said the severity of both blows won’t be known until Monday when the pair have scans, but for a team short on squad depth the prospect of major injuries is far from ideal.

Izaia Perese on his way to the sin bin on Friday night.Credit:Getty

If Gordon is ruled out, NSW will need a new captain. Without Michael Hooper, Rob Simmons or Kurtley Beale this year, the cupboard is bare in terms of experience.

Fullback Jack Maddocks could be an option, and Alex Newsome was the side’s vice-captain last year but being out on the wing might work against him.

Back-rower Jack Dempsey played well and could fill the void, while reserve Hugh Sinclair, who has captained Norths in the Shute Shield, fronted the post-match press conference.

Jack Grant, the son of former Wallaby James Grant, is the favourite to start at halfback in Gordon’s place. The Waratahs also hope Tepai Moeroa will overcome a knee niggle to be an option at inside-centre.

But NSW still need to find a replacement for Perese, who in his first game for the club inexplicably tipped Hunter Paisami on his head. Perese lost possession in the lead-up and tried to hit Paisami as hard as he could before the tip-tackle gone wrong.

SANZAAR is yet to announce the date for a near-certain judiciary hearing, but NSW will be preparing for life without him for an extended period.

Penney, who took a punt on Perese following an off-field incident at the Brisbane Broncos, could not hide his disappointment.

“I just feel so heartbroken for Izzy,” Penney said. “He’s a talented young kid. He’s come back to try and re-establish his reputation and it’s a tough start for him. He’ll get a lot of support from us because we love him. It’s a tough start for him but he’ll get a bit of a learning out of it.

Loading

“It was a fair call, no doubt. You’ve got to support the referees wholeheartedly.”

Penney said No.7 Carlo Tizzano had a tight hamstring following a standout performance. The 21-year-old made 25 tackles, twice as many as any of his teammates.

In the short-term, the Waratahs may have found an excellent replacement for Hooper.

“Losing sucks … but onto next week,” Tizzano said. “I’m just trying to do my best and see what I can do.”

Meanwhile, 97,000 people watched the Waratahs and Reds match on 9GEM, an increase on the 69,000 who tuned in for the corresponding game last year on Fox Sports to begin Super Rugby AU.

Stan Sport does not plan on releasing its viewer numbers during the year.

Sport newsletter

Sports news, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox each weekday. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in Sport

Loading

www.smh.com.au

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button