South Sydney’s hopes of surging back into the top eight have suffered a devastating blow with strike centre Campbell Graham set to be sidelined for up to six months after the club announced he needed surgery to repair damage to his sternum.
The 24-year-old was one of their standouts in 2023, with Graham scoring a career-high 16 tries from 21 appearances, including two hat-tricks in the opening nine rounds.
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Graham was playing so well last season he was named 18th man for NSW for the State of Origin opener, but quickly withdrew from camp due to the sternum complaint.
It’s an injury he battled all season, with the club announcing on Thursday he’ll need to have surgery, with Graham expected to return before the finals should the Rabbitohs get there.
It’s also a blow for the NRL who had used the rangy centre as part of their promotional tour of the United States to ramp up hype for the Las Vegas double-header.
“Rabbitohs centre Campbell Graham will undergo surgery next week to repair damage to his sternum which will see him sidelined for up to six months,” a club statement read.
“Graham played through the injury throughout the 2023 season and has trained throughout the pre-season; however, a decision has been made to undergo surgery on the affected area.
“Graham is expected to be back on the field for South Sydney at the back-end of the regular season.”
The Rabbitohs will likely turn to Jack Wighton and Isaiah Tass to play in the centres, with Alex Johnston and Tyrone Munro on the wings, although Wighton will miss their first game in Las Vegas due to suspension.
Meanwhile, the Dragons have signed Christian Tuipulotu from the Sea Eagles effective immediately on a two-year deal.
“Christian is a big body who can add some strike out of the backfield and will be a valuable addition to the club,” Dragons coach Shane Flanagan said.
“We have some good outside backs coming through at the Dragons but having lost Corey Allan for the season it was important for us to add some NRL experience to the backline for this year.”
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