SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 22: Ben Matulino of the Tigers scores a try during the round 6 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium on April 22, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

Wests Tigers prop Ben Matulino will be forced to face retirement a lot sooner than expected after suffering a knee injury in the round 14 win over the Cowboys.

NRL.com understands the injury to Matulino is potentially career-ending. He hasn’t returned to training since the injury, and is now fearing that his long tenure will come to an end.

The Wests Tigers are struggling at the minute, and are desperate for a player of his calibre – yet his return to the field becomes less of a possibility by the day.

Matulino is guaranteed to receive contract fulfilment, and he is currently working with the Rugby League Player’s Association around the issue.

However, the Tigers may have his $600,000 contract excluded from the salary cap if the injury is deemed career-ending.

The goal for Matulino and the Tigers is to convince the NRL that the situation hasn’t occurred because of chronic issues, rather just a career-ending knock.

The 30-year-old has played 248 NRL games since debuting for the Warriors 11 seasons ago, and joined the Tigers last season.

Through his career, Matulino has proven to be one of the more resilient and efficient players, featuring in 215 of a possible 234 games since entering the league as a starter back in 2010.

Despite the unfortunate circumstances, there’s a silver lining surrounding new recruits – the Tigers have the opportunity to attract new players to Western Sydney.

Last week, Josh Reynolds was allowed to speak to rival clubs and negotiate his playing future. The potential list changes could work in Tigers’ favour, giving them upwards of $1 million to spend on new recruits.

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