Injured... David Shillington. Photo: Graham Tidy
The Canberra Raiders have been dealt their first major setback of 2014, with prop David Shillington to miss at least one match with a rib cartilage injury.
Scans on Monday confirmed Shillington faces up to four weeks on the sideline after suffering the injury during Canberra’s final trial match against Newcastle in Tamworth on Saturday night.
It effectively rules the Queensland and Australia representative out of the NRL opener against the Cowboys in Townsville on March 8, in what Canberra coach Ricky Stuart admitted was a serious hiccup for his team.
Shillington’s absence could be sorely felt against a Cowboys outfit boasting Australia’s World Cup starting props Matt Scott and James Tamou.
‘‘From what I’m hearing it’s a two-to-four week injury,’’ Stuart said on Monday.
‘‘It’s a big loss. David’s an experienced player who’s had a good off season.’’
Shillington is Canberra’s only injury concern in an otherwise incident-free pre-season.
‘‘So far we’ve been very fortunate with our injuries,’’ Stuart said. ‘‘We’re in pretty good shape, apart from David.’’
Stuart also insisted he had no concerns key playmaker Terry Campese will be rusty against the Cowboys, despite not getting a pre-season run under his belt.
‘‘It’s been a really difficult two years [injury wise] for Campo and the way he’s trained [has been great],’’ Stuart said.
‘‘He’s one of the fittest at the club, physically he’s been jumping into it, I’d prefer him to be ready to roll round one than playing in trials.
‘‘He doesn’t need trials, he doesn’t need to practice his footy, he needs to play the real stuff.’’