The Sharks have announced that Rudolf suffered a grade two medial ligament tear midway through the second half of their win in Townsville and is expected to miss four weeks.
While the result is not as bad as some had feared, it effectively rules Rudolf out for the remainder of the regular season – a big blow with the fight for second place alive and well.
Optimistic projections have Rudolf returning for the second week of the finals.
Suspected MCL injury for Toby Rudolf, non-contact but more a slide injury than direction change + stick (wet weather can be somewhat protective for ACL injury risk). Scans to determine severity, Sharks hoping minor/moderate grade which would usually be 1-3/3-6 weeks respectively pic.twitter.com/k18FgHf9ZC
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) August 13, 2022
Thankfully the Shire club welcome back a number of front-row absentees just in time to cover the void left by Rudolf. Royce Hunt returned from a shoulder issue last week, while veteran big men Andrew Fifita and Aiden Tolman will both be available to face Manly this week after missing the trip north.
In other good news for the Sharks, it’s been revealed that Connor Tracey has recovered well after a head-knock suffered in the derby against St George Illawarra in Round 21, showing no ill-effects and shaping up well for a return this week. Matt Moylan is also tracking well as he recovers from a quadriceps issue and could possibly be named in Craig Fitzgibbon’s extended squad.
Fullback Will Kennedy is also progressing well through his recovery from ankle surgery, with an expectation that he may return to the field as early as Round 25.
Cronulla will play Manly at 4 Pines Park this Saturday at 5.30pm AEST. The clubs have already met this year, with the Sharks claiming a 34-22 home victory as Siosifa Talakai ran riot in an unforgettable first-half rampage.
Though Talakai was ruled out of the Tigers game with a late injury, he is expected to be available this week. Meanwhile Manly will be without Jason Saab after the rangy winger suffered a suspected ACL injury in the Sea Eagles' season-ending loss to the Titans.