NRL Rd 18 - Raiders v Sharks
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17: Xavier Savage of the Raiders is tackled during the round 18 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Cronulla Sharks at Cbus Super Stadium, on July 17, 2021, in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Regi Varghese/Getty Images)

Canberra Raiders young gun fullback Xavier Savage will miss the opening round of the NRL season after suffering a broken jaw during the club's pre-season loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon in Moruya.

The game, which the Raiders lost 34 points to 18 in what was Cameron Ciraldo's first as a head coach for Canterbury, posed plenty of questions for the green machine.

But there will be none bigger than the issue of the number one jumper for Ricky Stuart, with News Corp reporting on Monday morning that scans have confirmed a broken jaw.

The incident, which occurred shortly after halftime, saw Savage attempt to dive on a loose pass, only to cop a stray knee to the side of the head from Canterbury's recent Top 30 addition Josh Reynolds.

Savage immediately clasped at his jaw and cheek after the incident, before throwing his head back in his hands while sitting on the bench as Raiders' medical staff assessed him.

It's understood he could miss anywhere between six and eight weeks of action, with the opening round of the season just three weeks away.

The club are yet to confirm the injury, but it's understood he will have surgery on the injury on Monday.

The Raiders will enter the 2023 season with Savage as their number one fullback following the release of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to head back across the ditch and join the New Zealand Warriors.

Jordan Rapana, who will otherwise play on the wing, is one option to fill in at the back for Ricky Stuart, while Albert Hopoate, who can play at either centre, wing or fullback, will likely be the other.

The Raiders commence their season with a difficult trip to Townsville to play the North Queensland Cowboys, before playing the Dolphins on the road in Round 2. Their first home game, in Round 3, will be against the Cronulla Sharks.


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