Souths’ Gray, Hawkins face lengthy injury lay-offs

Jasper Bruce |

South Sydney halfback Dean Hawkins will be out of action for 8-10 weeks with a quadricep injury.
South Sydney halfback Dean Hawkins will be out of action for 8-10 weeks with a quadricep injury.

South Sydney’s nightmare NRL season has taken yet another turn for the worse with confirmation Dean Hawkins and Jye Gray will both miss around two months with injuries suffered last round.

Jack Wighton looks set for an extended stint in the halves in place of Hawkins, who hurt his right quadriceps kicking off during Thursday’s 42-12 loss to Penrith and will miss 8-10 weeks.

The versatile Jack Wighton looks set for a lengthy stint in the Rabbitohs’ halves. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

The Rabbitohs’ first-choice halfback starting the season, Lachlan Ilias suffered a long-term leg injury shortly after being dropped in March, leaving little option but to shift Wighton from the centres for Saturday’s clash against St George Illawarra.

Gray had been set to drop out of the last-placed Rabbitohs’ 17 for that game now that Latrell Mitchell has served his suspension for dangerous contact.

Rookie fullback Gray’s emergence has been one of few highlights for the Rabbitohs this season but he will be unavailable for the next six to eight weeks after being collected in a hip-drop tackle by Izack Tago on Thursday night.

Gray initially played through the pain of his syndesmosis injury but did not return after half-time, with Panthers centre Tago copping a one-match ban for the shot.

Jye Gray
Jye Gray faces 6-8 weeks on the sidelines. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

“There wasn’t much in that, but I get it, (Gray) is out for a few weeks so it’s probably fair,” said Panthers coach Ivan Cleary.

Gray met with a surgeon on Monday and is likely to undergo tightrope surgery to repair the issue in his right foot.

News of Gray and Hawkins’ prognoses comes only days after the club confirmed Gehamat Shibasaki would join the squad as an injury cover amid the ongoing carnage.

The ex-North Queensland forward is available for selection in the clash against the Dragons, the Rabbitohs’ second game since firing beleaguered coach Jason Demetriou.

Gray and Hawkins join Cameron Murray, Campbell Graham, Richie Kennar, Tyrone Munro, Tevita Tatola and more in the Rabbitohs’ casualty ward.

Jacob Gagai, a late scratching from the Panthers clash, will also miss the next one to two weeks with a minor calf injury but fellow winger Alex Johnston is closing on a return from his hamstring issue in the next fortnight.