Bulldog Salmon bounces back from ‘serious’ infection

Jasper Bruce |

Canterbury’s Jaeman Salmon going over for a Bulldogs try in the win over the Dragons.
Canterbury’s Jaeman Salmon going over for a Bulldogs try in the win over the Dragons.

Two separate stints in hospital, a course of intravenous antibiotics and a leg that had swollen up completely.

That’s the list of hurdles Jaeman Salmon needed to clear before starring in Canterbury’s 44-12 thrashing of St George Illawarra on Thursday night.

As the headlines focused on Nathan Cleary’s troublesome hamstring, former teammate Salmon was battling an ailment of his own in the days after Canterbury’s round-10 loss to Penrith.

A graze on Salmon’s leg had become infected, with the area eventually swelling up so badly the 2022 premiership winner needed to check into the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

“My whole leg blew up, down in my ankle. It was just really swollen and red and just hardened up,” Salmon told AAP.

Salmon stayed in hospital for two nights after being diagnosed with a staph infection, a kind of bacterial infection that can be fatal if it spreads into the bloodstream or vital organs.

“I had to get on the antibiotic drip straight away to fix it,” he said.

After two long days and nights in a hospital bed, made bearable by teammates’ text messages and visits from fellow recruits Blake Taaffe and Jake Turpin, Salmon returned to training.

The utility attempted to persuade coach Cameron Ciraldo to play him in last weekend’s clash against Canberra at Magic Round, but the coach was having none of it.

“It just wasn’t going to be in his best interest to do that, so we held him back this week,” Ciraldo said.

As the Bulldogs were preparing to travel up to Brisbane last week, Salmon checked back in hospital to beat the infection once and for all, bringing his total to four days in a hospital bed.

“It was a bit of a long week,” he said.

“I know it was pretty serious but I was in good hands there at the Prince of Wales Hospital with the nurses and the doctors, and our club doc as well.

“I’m all good now.”

Salmon returned to training last Sunday and was given Ciraldo’s tick of approval to line up on the right edge against the Dragons on Thursday night at Accor Stadium.

There, he scored the first two tries of a second-half skirmish that yielded 38 points and, eventually, the Bulldogs’ fifth win of the season.

Salmon and winger Jacob Kiraz were stand-outs as the Bulldogs feasted on the Dragons left side, which had been reshuffled following Jack Bird’s mid-game ankle injury.

For Ciraldo, the performance was the latest reminder that Salmon’s move to Belmore was paying off.

“He’s been doing a good job for us,” the coach said.

“He’s pretty underrated but certainly within our four walls, we understand all the work he does and how important he is to our team.”