Almost one in five NRL players will be out injured this weekend even with big names John Bateman, Josh Dugan, Jesse Bromwich and Viliame Kikau easing their way out of a bulging code-wide casualty ward.
In total 90 players across the 16 NRL clubs were listed as injured when team lists dropped on Tuesday afternoon, amounting to 19 per cent of the 480 senior players making up top 30 squad lists in the game.
Brisbane (10 injured players), Canberra (nine), Newcastle, the Roosters and Warriors (seven) have been the hardest hit, with the Terrigal-based Warriors also left severely short after five players returned to New Zealand for personal reasons this week.
NRL coaches to a man have declared 2020 a survival of the fittest given the rescheduled season amounts to 20 straight games with no byes.
Of the 90 players currently sidelined, 19 of them won't be back this year with their injuries ruling them out for the season.
Again the Warriors have been decimated – losing Taane Milne, Jackson Frei, Bunty Afoa (knee injuries) and Selestino Ravutaumada (shoulder) – while the likes of Josh Hodgson, Victor Radley, Connor Watson, Ryan James, Jayden Brailey, Adam Elliott and Jack Bird are significant losses at their respective clubs.
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Not that it needed underlining, but the Broncos and Raiders have actually enjoyed injury relief on one front this week, only to have it doubled down in another.
Ricky Stuart named Bateman last week when he was no chance of playing simply to fill out his 21-man teamsheet, but the Englishman is slated to make a long-awaited comeback from shoulder surgery against North Queensland on Saturday.
Curtis Scott (infection) is also another big inclusion for Canberra but it comes after Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad copped a gruesome finger injury, while Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine have been named as they still await official clearance to travel to Queensland without having had a flu shot.
Brisbane meanwhile welcome back Jake Turpin from a leg fracture at the same time as Brodie Croft's shoulder injury flared and ruled him out of Friday's clash with Cronulla.
The likes of Bromwich (knee), Dylan Walker (ankle), Api Koroisau (elbow) were not included in the 90 injured players after they were named on their respective extended reserve lists, though there are no guarantees they will play in round 12.
Dugan (hamstring) has been cleared to return for 200th game for Cronulla, while Kikau (calf) is also back for the Panthers against Manly.
At the Roosters though Trent Robinson has lost Boyd Cordner for another week with the club taking no chances around another head knock suffered by the skipper at training.
Veteran winger Brett Morris is also out for an indefinite period after suffering a fracture in his lower back.
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NRL.com understands Morris has had back concerns throughout the year but does not require surgery on this current issue, only rest and rehab management.
Newcastle's Adam O'Brien has plumped for one-game rookie Chris Randell in the No.9 jumper after season-ending blows to Andrew McCullough (hamstring) and Watson (Achilles).
The Warriors meanwhile have rushed their latest loan players – Eels pair Daniel Alvaro and George Jennings – straight into the 17 against Wests Tigers after David Fusitu'a, Ken Maumalo, Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa flew back to New Zealand this week.
Penrith prop Jack Hetherington has had his loan arrangement with the Kiwi side extended by another month.
While the August 3 mid-season transfer deadline lapses next Monday the Warriors will be still be able to negotiate loan arrangements after that if needed in the event of further injuries in Todd Payten's squad.