Pritchard injury compounds Eels' second-half collapse
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur paid tribute to luckless hooker Kaysa Pritchard following the side's 26-20 loss on Saturday night, fearing his injury-riddled season has continued.
Pritchard left the field in the fifth minute of the round 20 clash as team doctors struggled to attend to the hooker's dislocated shoulder in the hour after the injury.
It compounded a heartbreaking evening for the Eels, who surrendered a 14-point lead to a Rabbitohs outfit who only hit their groove late in the game.
"It'll be rehab but I doubt he'll play the rest of the year," Arthur said of Pritchard.
"That was something we spoke about at the end of the game, he's had an unfortunate run. You don't like to see it with any of the players, especially Kaysa, he puts his body on the line. He can't take a trick."
Arthur was hopeful Will Smith would be available to make his return next week against the Titans, but indicated boom rookie Reed Mahoney was also an option after a solid performance in Pritchard's absence.
Mahoney is on a development deal with Parramatta with the club likely to seek approval from the NRL for the Sunshine Coast product to play.
The 20-year-old pestered Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds throughout the contest, earning strong reviews from television commentator and premiership-winner Michael Ennis.
"He's getting better, he's young and learning the game," Arthur said of Mahoney.
"There's bits and pieces he needs to work on but the boys like having him out on the field which always helps.
"He's good with the effort areas but that comes through with his pre-season training. He's only on a train and trial situation and done more than enough to impress us. He's earned his opportunity.
"I'm hoping Will might be available next week but I'd like to see if Reedy can play 80 minutes. I think he can, we're going to give him a chance."
Arthur said he felt for his players after the disastrous loss.
"I'm disappointed for the players, our fans and everyone involved at the club," he said.
"We worked really hard, no one's taking any short cuts and not preparing to win ... just struggling to find a way to win.
"The results aren't there but we got beat by two. Dragons and Souths are up there in the top four. We've showed we can be really competitive but we need to find a way to close the games out or win those games."