Knights rally behind shattered Ciraldo

Cameron Ciraldo’s week from hell just got a little brighter with the Newcastle Knights intimating that they will soon enter into contract negotiations with the injured back-rower.<br><br>Ciraldo suffered a horrific ankle fracture during Monday night’s 24-12 win over Cronulla that will see him sidelined for at least three months and possibly the remainder of the season.<br><br>His absence was thought to have placed his future in jeopardy, with his current deal expiring at the end of the year, but Knights chief executive Steve Burraston said today that the injury wouldn’t affect the 24-year-old’s chances of inking a new deal with the club.<br><br>“I wouldn’t think he has anything to worry about,” Burraston said. “Obviously our main concern just at the moment is for Cameron’s welfare but he is young fellow who fits firmly into the culture that we are trying to build at the club.<br><br>“I don’t think it’s necessary for him to have to prove himself again this season. We know who he is, how he plays and what sort of value he brings.<br><br>“He played for us last year, he played in the trials this year and in two premiership games so I think our coaching staff already have enough ammunition to make a good judgment call on him.”<br><br>Ciraldo is one of nine Knights off contract this season but his manager, Gavin Orr, said he didn’t expect his injury to cause any major problems.<br><br>“We’re starting to negotiate now with all the clubs,” he said. “The clubs are starting to ask who is available and who is off contract. <br><br>“Cameron could attract some interest but I’m sure his own club will try and wrap him up as soon as they can.<br><br>“As it is they’re saying 12-14 weeks (on the sidelines) so I think he’ll get himself back on the field anyway.”<br><br>Orr said that Ciraldo had already done enough in his 18 months in Newcastle to prove his worth.<br><br>“People should know what they’re getting,” he continued. “He is 6’5”, 108kg and carries the ball like you and I carry a mobile phone. <br><br>“He’ll only get better with age. The other thing is that plenty of people have come back from badly broken legs and played their best football – look at Scott Prince?”<br><br>Ciraldo’s situation is reminiscent of Manly prop George Rose, who suffered a shocking ankle injury in 2007.<br><br>Rose initially feared that he wouldn’t be offered a new contract with the Sea Eagles but ended up agreeing to terms on a one-year deal and made a successful comeback last season.<br><br>Burraston said the Knights had already begun securing their squad for 2010 and expected to re-sign more players in the coming months.<br><br>“We’ve certainly been doing a little bit of that,” he said.<br><br>“In recent times we re-signed Cory Paterson and Junior Sau so we’re slowly working through those things.<br><br>“Like everything, the coaches like to have a look, see how the team is going and make some judgments from there but we’ll progressively do that during the year once we get a few games under our belt.<br><br>“In Cameron’s case we’ve seen enough of him to make a judgment call without him having to rush back from his injury.”<br><br>Ciraldo was yesterday diagnosed with a fractured fibula and damaged ligaments in his right ankle after falling awkwardly in a tackle at Toyota Park on Monday.<br><br>After early suggestions that he may have only suffered a horribly ugly dislocation, it has now been confirmed that he will miss at least three months and possibly the remainder of the 2009 season.<br><br>Ciraldo, who joined the Knights from Cronulla in 2008, could be operated on as early as this afternoon depending upon the results of further examination this morning.<br>