Knights shattered for Moga after fourth knee injury
Newcastle Knights players had been discussing at the weekend how centre Tautau Moga appeared to have overcome his horrific run with injuries but less than 24 hours later they were fearing his career was over.
A "devastated" Moga suffered his fourth anterior cruciate ligament injury while scoring the opening try in the Knights 30-12 loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium on Sunday.
The 24-year-old now faces an uncertain future.
Moga ruptured his right ACL twice in eight months with the Sydney Roosters and for a third time when he was with the North Queensland Cowboys in 2015. But he made a successful return to the NRL last season for the Brisbane Broncos.
In just his fourth match since joining the Newcastle Knights, Moga has now ruptured his left ACL. The three previous operations were on his right knee.
"He's buggered; he's done his cruciate unfortunately so it's a bad day all round for us," Knights coach Nathan Brown said.
"It's certainly not a good thing for anyone. Just more disappointed for Tau because he's been through three before.
"He's gone through two years of playing consistently and against Canberra he was starting to show for us what he was going to be, and when he started the game today he was outstanding.
"You feel for him and his partner, his little one and his family because they are serious injuries. These are a part of the game and we have to deal with them as best as we can."
Co-captain Mitchell Pearce revealed teammates were only the night before discussing how Moga had overcome run of bad luck and how pleasing it was to have him in the side.
Match: Dragons vs Knights
Venue: WIN Stadium
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"We're shattered for him. He's worked so hard in the pre-season and he's starting to find some real form," Pearce said.
"We were actually talking about it last night. Browny [coach Nathan Brown] got the boys doing a couple of interviews with the new boys and we were talking about how good it's been that he's come back from what he's been through."
The Knights are now struggling to find depth in their backline with Connor Watson out for 10-12 weeks due to a shoulder injury and now Moga ruled out for the season.
Brown said it was a massive blow for the side and the Knights would be scouting for a replacement.
"It's an area where we are real skinny coming into the year, we won't lie about that," Brown said.
"From the club's point of view we've been looking for outside backs quite regularly, we got a good young one coming next year but in the short term we've got Kenny Sio, who's not playing [first grade], and one or two of the young boys holding their gloves up out there."