Scans confirm ACL tear for Sharks’ Graham
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Scans confirm ACL tear for Sharks’ Graham

Cronulla will have to continue their premiership quest without Wade Graham after scans confirmed the star second-rower tore his ACL in Saturday’s NRL finals loss to the Sydney Roosters.

Graham limped from the field early in the first half at Allianz Stadium after fumbling a Cooper Cronk grubber before colliding with Isaac Liu in the lead-up to a Roosters try.

Body blow: Wade Graham of the Sharks is assisted from the field by trainers.

Body blow: Wade Graham of the Sharks is assisted from the field by trainers.Credit:AAP

‘‘I spoke to him this morning. He’s unfortunately done his ACL. He’ll be out for the rest of the season,’’ Sharks skipper Paul Gallen said on the Nine Network’s Sports Sunday.

It is a cruel end to an injury-riddled season for the Kangaroos international, who had also strained his medial in the same knee six weeks ago.

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Graham has also been forced to miss matches this year due to hamstring, groin, concussion and cheekbone issues that robbed him of a chance to retain his NSW State of Origin jumper. He is now set to undergo major knee surgery next week, with a likely long road to recovery that would have him in doubt for next year’s season-opener.

Scott Sorensen is expected to come into the starting line-up, with Kurt Capewell on the bench for Cronulla’s sudden-death semi-final with Penrith next week.

Graham’s injury robs the Sharks of one of their key weapons ahead of their showdown with the Panthers, who advanced to the final with a win over the Warriors.

The match-up pits the Sharks against former playmaker James Maloney, who moved to the Panthers in what was resulted in a player-swap with Matt Moylan last summer.Gallen predicted Maloney would attempt to prove a point against his former club.

‘‘I’ve been told Jimmy Maloney was absolutely outstanding. I’ve been told he’s a bit busted after the game but I know Jimmy Maloney is as tough as nails,’’ Gallen said.

‘‘He’ll be on next week, particularly playing against us.’’

Gallen admitted he wrote the Panthers off as a title threat but believes their confidence has since soared after recent wins.‘‘I thought they were gone a month ago,’’ he said.

‘‘I think the last game against the Melbourne Storm - when Melbourne rested eight of their players - they just scraped home, the Panthers. I remember thinking at the time, 'That’s going to give them confidence going into the semis’.

‘‘The Warriors smashed them only two weeks ago in New Zealand, Penrith were not in that game whatsoever, then they come out and beat them, so next week’s going to be a hard game.’’

AAP