NRL Rd 4 - Dolphins v Broncos
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Connelly Lemuelu of the Dolphins looks to pass the ball during the round four NRL match between the Dolphins and Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on March 24, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Dolphins forward Connelly Lemuelu is facing further checks on his knee after picking up an injury last week while away with Samoa.

The injury to Lemuelu subsequently saw him ruled out of last week's game against the New Zealand Kiwis, adding further woes to the Samoan national team.

It is understood he will now have the knee looked at before the start of pre-season, with Samoan coach Ben Gardiner confirming this.

However, Gardiner said that while the injury was major enough to miss the game against New Zealand, it will be highly unlikely if it restricts his return to pre-season training with The Dolphins.

Earlier this year, Lemuelu inked a three-year contract extension with the Dolphins that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2025 season.

"We were very pleased with the pre-season Connelly had and that hard work has paid dividends for him early in the season," said Terry Reader, Dolphins' chief executive in a media statement.

"Our recruitment chief Peter O'Sullivan had marked Connelly as a player that could have a big impact on the NRL and he has been proven right already."

"He is the kind of player this club was looking for both on and off the field."

"We are very pleased that Connelly has agreed to be a Dolphin for at least the next three years and look forward to watching him continue to improve as a player."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 02: Jarome Luai of the Panthers celebrates with the Samoa flag after victory in the 2022 NRL Grand Final match between the Penrith Panthers and the Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium on October 02, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Lemuelu's injury comes after five-eighth superstar Jarome Luai was ruled out of competing in the Pacific Championships with a shoulder injury - leaving the field in the 51st minute of the NRL Grand Final.

Rookie sensation and Samoan international Karl Oloapu was also ruled out of the Pacific Championships due to injury and now faces missing the entire 2024 season.

The young prodigy is facing immediate neck surgery with his long-term future up in the air until after the surgery has been performed, per Nine's Danny Weidler.

Unfortunately, Samoa were unable to continue their success of last year's Rugby League World Cup, earning consecutive defeats to Australia and New Zealand. This means their Pacific Championships tournament has come to an abrupt ending.