Seven minutes in, the Newcastle Knights are already having a horrible start to their game against the Penrith Panthers.
Already entering the match without Kalyn Ponga, much of the creativity for the team was set to fall on the shoulders of captain Mitchell Pearce.
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But just four an a half minutes into the game, Pearce was steamrolled by Stephen Crichton as he plough through Pearce, who went low in the tackle and caught his hip, falling heavily and being left dazed.
“What an enormous blow for Newcastle, their superstar halfback has been left unconscious on the ground,” Michael Ennis said on Fox Sports.
Pearce had a cut on his cheek and was helped from the field.
But it wasn’t going to end there with Connor Watson, who swapped into halfback from hooker to cover Pearce, went down with an ankle injury just three minutes later.
While he limped back into the line, Watson didn’t last too long before coming from the field.
“This is a disaster for Newcastle,” Matthew Thompson said on Channel 9’s coverage.
“This is the worst possible start for Newcastle,” Peter Sterling agreed.
NRL Physio Brien Seeney said Watson was done for the day with a syndesmosis injury.
Connor Watson is done for the day, concern by video for syndesmosis injury (high ankle sprain) as right foot gets caught in turf and externally rotated. Attempted to run it off but unsuccessful. Even minor sprain often requires 2-3 weeks, moderate to severe sprain: 4-8 weeks pic.twitter.com/CvtTEmP5ww
Newcastle were playing some beautiful football. I’m devastated to see Pearce off like that – not only for this game but his health #NRLPanthersKnights
Pearce.. now Watson fml #NRLPanthersKnights
LMAO can we go back to sport being banned pls. #NRLPanthersKnights #GoHardGoKnights #NRL
Mitchell Pearce is helped off the field after a BRUTAL head-knock. 😳
WATCH: Channel 9 | STREAM: https://t.co/cbkZMLMetT#9WWOS #NRLPanthersKnights pic.twitter.com/E5oQ8VEqub
Out to the 21st minute, Tim Glasby also went from the field after copping an elbow after getting in an awkward position.
Amazing to think Newcastle Knights could have one left on the bench after 20 minutes! Three star players either on concussion tests or injured. #NRL
With the Knights dropping like flies, the Panthers finally pounced, scoring back to back tries to lead 14-0 after 25 minutes.
It came after the second try to Kurt Capewell saw an eight-point try as Knights winger Edrick Lee lashed out with the foot as the Panthers forward scored.
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