Maroons face nervous wait on Dolphins prop Flegler

Joel Gould |

Dolphins prop Thomas Flegler has a tricky shoulder injury that will concern the Queensland Maroons.
Dolphins prop Thomas Flegler has a tricky shoulder injury that will concern the Queensland Maroons.

Dolphins prop Thomas Flegler’s shoulder injury will be a concern for Queensland coach Billy Slater as the firebrand’s return to play date remains up in the air.

Flegler suffered what Dolphins performance chief Jeremy Hickmans told AAP this week was a “bad burner” to his left shoulder in the 26-16 win over Wests Tigers in round five, and that the key was getting strength back in. 

Due to nerve damage his return to NRL action is a day-by-day proposition.

Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett summed up the situation on Saturday when asked when the 24-year-old might be back.

“The time frame is when Tom can feel his shoulder again and the nerves are operating properly,” Bennett said.

“It is nerve damage and has got to be repaired.”

The concern for the Maroons is that they are already without key forwards Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Thomas Gilbert to season-ending knee injuries.

Flegler is one of three Maroons in the Dolphins squad on the injured list ahead of the State of Origin season opener in Sydney on June 5.

Fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, who played all three Origin games at centre for the Maroons last year, sustained a grade-two hamstring strain in round six against the Broncos.

Hickmans had told AAP the man known as ‘Hammer’ was on track to  return before the first Origin, and Bennett confirmed he was progressing well.

“Hammer is probably three weeks away and maybe two,” Bennett said.

Tabuai-Fidow did rehab work at Dolphins training on Saturday on the training field.

Hickmans says because Tabuai-Fidow is such a finely tuned and speedy athlete, the latter stages of his rehab are key with the aim of   enabling the electric outside back to return to his elite level.

Dolphins second-rower Felise Kaufusi has a hamstring injury. He has not played for the Maroons since 2022 but was suspended during last year’s series.

Such was his form before he went down injured, also against Wests Tigers, the 31-year-old is in the frame to add to his 14 games for Queensland.

Kaufusi, also in rehab, ran strongly on Saturday at training and was hitting high speeds. 

He is a chance to be back next week for the away trip to North Queensland but is more likely to be back in round 10 or 11.

The Dolphins also have England international Herbie Farnworth (AC joint) in rehab.

Farnworth, not qualified for Origin, is making solid progress and also trained on Saturday.

“Herbie could be back in the next couple of weeks … but Tom is the furthest away,” Bennett said.