New Zealand Warriors' recruit Mitch Barnett has been cleared of any serious damage following a neck injury sustained during the club's 26-12 victory over North Queensland.
Running out in humid Townsville, Barnett went down in the 54th minute of the match grabbing at his neck after being caught up in a Gehamat Shibasaki tackle, which the Cowboys' outside back was placed on report for.
While he managed to walk off the field following the incident, images emerged later through the evening of Barnett in a neck brace, laid out on a stretcher on his way to hospital, raising alarm bells.
However, despite the fears over his health, the Warriors released a statement on Sunday morning confirming the former Knight had been cleared of any serious issue.
"One New Zealand Warriors forward Mitchell Barnett has been cleared of a major neck injury and was able to fly home with the team today following last night's 26-12 win over the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville," the club announced via the statement.
"The-28-year-old Barnett left the field in discomfort clutching his neck and shoulder area
after being tackled by three North Queensland players in the 54th minute of the match.
"Centre Gehamat Shibasaki was subsequently put on report by referee Chris Sutton.
One New Zealand Warriors head coach Andrew Webster said Barnett was taken to
hospital as a precaution last night.
"He was cleared of any fracture and was later discharged to re-join the team.
While Barnett will undergo further assessment this week Webster said he was up and
about walking freely this morning.
"New signing Barnett was one of the team's many outstanding performers last night.
Starting in the second row, he made 140 metres from 15 runs plus 16 tackles in his 54
minutes on the field.
"When he was forced off the Warriors were leading 22-12 before going on to secure just
the club's third win in Townsville since 2002."
Shibasaki failed to attract a charge for the tackle.
It's a welcome relief for the Warriors as they look to build on a strong start to the season, beginning the year 2-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of the Sydney Roosters in a tight affair.