Newcastle Knights captain Jayden Brailey has suffered a heartbreaking setback for the start of the season after the club announced he had ruptured the Achilles tendon in his left leg.
Brailey will have surgery this week and there are hopes he will return for the second half of 2022.
Having proven himself as one of their most consistent players in 2021, his injury will come as a huge blow for the Knights, who have also lost experienced playmaker Mitchell Pearce.
A member of the Emerging and Future Blues squad in 2018 and 2019, Brailey is clearly held in high regard at the club. He was named captain last year despite playing only two games for the Knights after a ruptured ACL sidelined him for the 2020 season.
In Brailey’s absence, the Knights have Chris Randall and Kurt Mann as viable options at hooker. Randall, who has just been promoted to the Knights Top 30 for 2022, played five NRL games last season scoring two tries and finishing with a tackle efficiency of 97.5%
Randall also played three games in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup where he finished with a tackle efficiency of 95.6% and ran for 42 metres per game.
Mann, who was close to making a State of Origin debut in 2021, has filled in at hooker previously for the Knights and provides plenty of utility value.