Toby Rudolf of the Sharks passes the ball during the Cronulla Sharks NRL training session at UWA Sports Park on February 13, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Feb. 12, 2020 - Source: Getty Images AsiaPac)

Cronulla Sharks forward Toby Rudolf could be ruled out for as long as six weeks after suffering a suspected MCL injury to his knee during Saturday evening's win over the Wests Tigers.

A consistent performer in the starting 13 for Cronulla this season, Rudolf was taken from the field after suffering a non-contact injury as he attempted to change directions and stop a swerving Daine Laurie, who was returning the ball out of his own end.

The win for the Sharks keeps them in the top four, however, the blow of losing Rudolf for potentially as long as six weeks can't be understated as the club push towards the finals.

The club will sweat on scans for Rudolf now, hoping the injury is a minor strain which could see him return in time for the finals.

Any confirmation of a more serious MCL injury however will leave him sidelined until at least the start of the finals, and potentially longer.

Rudolf has started 20 games at prop this year, running for 112 metres per game and making 637 tackles at 93 per cent, while also adding 21 tackle busts and 14 offloads.

The consistent worker has been the mainstay of Cronulla's pack alongside the experienced Dale Finucane and Cameron McInnes, while they have been backed up by the size and strength of Royce Hunt and Braden Hamlin-Uele.

Rudolf brings plenty that the Sharks don't have elsewhere though and, slightly light on depth, the club may now rely on Aiden Tolman and Andrew Fifita to play extended minutes during the weeks Rudolf is out, with Hamlin-Uele likely to start alongside Hunt in the coming weeks.

The Sharks sit in third spot after last night's win and one more win could be enough to see them secure the valuable second chance, although if the fifth-placed Rabbitohs win all three of their games, the black, white and blue may need to win two out of three.

The run home takes Craig Fitzgibbon's side to Brookvale next week, before playing the Canterbury Bulldogs and Newcastle Knights in the final fortnight.


  1. Rudolph will be missed, but Sharks have also played Jesse Colquhoun and Thomas Hazleton as middle forwards this year. They also have Franklin Pele (off to the Bulldogs next year because he can’t even get a bench spot) so they are not desperately short of depth.

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