Laurie Daley’s first camp as NSW coach was just a few hours old when he suffered his first major setback: the withdrawal of bench utility Kurt Gidley due to a foot injury.
Scans on Gidley’s foot, following an injury during the Knights’ 28-12 loss to the Warriors on Sunday, stunned the Blues just 24 hours after the squad was announced for game one. Daley said he would name a replacement on Tuesday.
Daley will likely decide who to bring in for the ANZ Stadium clash on Wednesday week by around lunchtime, to have the replacement in camp by Tuesday’s afternoon training session.
But it is clear that the replacement will not be apples for apples. Daley will now decide whether to possibly bring in a second-rower or a prop to replace Gidley, given there are few players with the Newcastle player’s ability to play so many positions. Willie Mason, Aaron Woods, Boyd Cordner, Feleti Mateo, Josh Reynolds, Josh McCrone and Wade Graham are set to be considered. Daley may decide to add more size to his side, knowing starters Luke Lewis and Greg Bird can offer utility value.
Blues skipper Paul Gallen said on Monday night he hoped Daley opted for a bigger player.
”Personally, I think they should pick another bigger bloke,” Gallen told Triple M. ”Cordner, Tim Grant, Tariq Sims or someone like that. I think they should pick a bigger bloke. I just don’t think there’s another player in the game who can do what Kurt Gidley can do. I don’t think there’s any point in picking a McCrone or someone like that. I think we maybe should go a bigger guy.”
Daley wanted to watch Monday night’s clash between South Sydney and Cronulla before making a decision, which suggested that he was considering Rabbitohs five-eighth John Sutton, who can play in the forwards, as well as Cronulla’s Todd Carney, who were both pitched as options at No.6.
Further disruptions are also possible this week, with skipper Paul Gallen (knee) and Lewis (shoulder) missing Monday night’s clash with the Rabbitohs.
Gidley played on after the injury on Sunday but MRI scans on Monday confirmed a torn ligament in his right foot.
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