IT IS not quite Cronulla's worst fears realised, but the wash-up from Paul Gallen's charity boxing bout will leave the Sharks feeling their own charity might have been misguided.
Their inspirational captain, who was allowed to take part in the fight by the club, aggravated an elbow injury during his charity bout in New Zealand, and could require surgery.
Gallen will have scans on his elbow on Monday, and is likely to consult a specialist, after pulling up sore following the fight.
The Sharks medical staff will decide then whether the Test and NSW representative will need surgery. The 31-year-old had been suffering from a ''tennis elbow'' injury before his Fight for Life debut.
''It's stiff and sore and it will be reviewed in the morning,'' Sharks doctor Dave Givney said. ''He hasn't pulled the tendon; at worst there might be a loose body in the elbow, a bit of gristle which needs to be cleaned out.''
Gallen spoke with club physiotherapist Konrad Schultz on Sunday, and was en route back to Sydney on Sunday night. Sharks officials have already been in contact with elbow specialist John Trantalis, and Gallen is likely to be assessed by him following scans.
''During the fight, it's played up, and it was really sore afterwards, so he's coming to see us in the morning,'' Givney said. ''We're going to scan it so we'll just see how it goes. He'll see the specialist if needed but it might just fix itself up.''
While Givney said the worst scenario would involve Gallen having a relatively straightforward clean-out operation, and there
appears to be little doubt that Gallen will not be fit for the start of the NRL season, the fact that he might be forced under the knife could call into question the decision to allow Gallen to box in the off-season.
Gallen fought on a card that included fellow NRL stars Greg Bird, Willie Mason and Manu Vatuvei, and despite scoring a points victory against Hika Elliot, was clearly a sore winner.
''That was one of the toughest things I've ever done,'' Gallen said after the fight.
Bird, too, was left shaken during his fight with former All Black Rene Ranger. The Gold Coast Titans forward was struck in the head with a powerful shot after dropping his guard when the referee had stepped in. The fact he was not wearing headgear exacerbated the blow. Mason fought another former All Black, Troy Flavell.
The aggravation of Gallen's elbow injury might leave Sydney Roosters feeling a little more nervous about their own star forward Sonny Bill Williams's boxing venture much closer to the NRL season. Williams will fight South African Francois Botha in February before beginning training with his new NRL club.
Williams is still recovering from a pectoral muscle injury he suffered while playing for Japanese rugby union club Panasonic Wild Knights.