The Parramatta Eels' depth in their outside backs is set to be stretched to breaking point after Haze Dunster was taken off the field with a worrying-looking leg injury which has now been confirmed as a season-ending incident.
The Eels confirmed in a statement that Dunster has injured his MCL, ACL and PCL.
"Haze Dunster has been ruled out for the 2022 season following confirmation he has sustained ruptures to his anterior, medial and posterior ligaments (ACL, MCL and PCL) in his knee during last night’s trial," read a statement.
"Haze will undergo surgery in the coming days and then will begin an extended rehabilitation period.
The Parramatta Eels are fully supporting Haze in his efforts to returning to the field in 2023."
The tackle, ruled to be a hip drop from St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower Tyrell Fuimaono who was placed in the sin bin and has now been hit with a Grade 3 dangerous contact charge, left Dunster on the ground and, after attention from the trainer, was taken from the field.
Haze Dunster off with nasty looking left knee injury. Main concern for MCL injury (several weeks recovery) with tackler coming down on outside of knee, unfortunately the traumatic nature of the tackle also brings risk to the ACL (several months). Fingers crossed for him pic.twitter.com/ACXZXWwdBM
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) February 20, 2022
The Eels depth in the outside backs, which was already short following the departures of Blake Ferguson and Michael Oldfield, was already stretched following the injury to Maika Sivo which will leave him on the sidelines to start the season.
Dunster was set to start on the wing alongside Bailey Simonsson, who has arrived at the club this off-season from the Canberra Raiders.
Their back up options feature very little in the way of NRL experience however, with the likes of Sean Russell and Solomone Naiduki, as well as development players Samuel Loizou and Josh Tuipulotu likely to be in line for a start should the Eels run into more problems.
It has reportedly forced the Eels to explore for options outside the club, with Jamayne Isaako reportedly on the radar.