Olam injury concern adds to Wests Tigers’ worries

George Clarke |

Wests Tigers’ Justin Olam is dealing with a lingering knee issue.
Wests Tigers’ Justin Olam is dealing with a lingering knee issue.

A longstanding knee injury to centre Justin Olam is the latest headache for the Wests Tigers to soothe as the struggling club attempts to hold on to young playmaker Lachlan Galvin.

Olam was on light duties at Tigers training on Monday as he deals with a lingering knee issue that has plagued him since his days with the Melbourne Storm.

The Papua New Guinea international missed last year’s Pacific Tests to deal with the problem and has been receiving platelet-rich plasma injections to help his recovery.

But that has failed to have the desired effect, with sources close to Olam indicating the injury is beginning to take its toll.

The 30-year-old centre is far from the form that led to him being named Dally M centre of the year in 2021.

If Olam opts for a clean-out, he could miss six to eight weeks and return for the back end of the Tigers’ season.

The Kumuls centre is not the only concern for head coach Benji Marshall ahead of the Tigers’ return to Leichhardt Oval to face the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday. 

Playmaker Jayden Sullivan requires surgery on a finger that could sideline him for up to a month, while Galvin is set to be rested with a hand issue. 

But the welcome news for Marshall is that prop Alex Twal has been cleared of a foot injury.

Twal did not train on Monday after leaving Friday’s loss against St George Illawarra in a moon boot.

Similarly, Adam Doueihi is set to make his return after a third successive knee reconstruction in the halves for the NSW Cup side on Saturday. 

Doueihi hasn’t played since April last year, but  concerns over Olam, Sullivan and Galvin mean his return to NRL action would be a handy boost for the Tigers, winless in their past nine games.

Galvin’s contract situation – which partly centres around him playing through the pain of a broken hand – continues to hang over the club.

Wests Tigers are keen to hold on to young playmaker Lachlan Galvin.
The struggling Wests Tigers are keen to hold on to young playmaker Lachlan Galvin. (Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)

The teenage No.6 sat out Monday’s session.

Galvin has two years to run on his current deal, but his position in the NRL side is not guaranteed, with Penrith ace Jarome Luai arriving at Concord next year.

Tigers chief executive Shane Richardson did not respond to requests for comment.

Richardson will also have to deal with growing concerns over the future of prop Stefano Utoikamanu, who could hit the open market if he isn’t picked in the NSW State of Origin side this year. 

Luai told reporters on Sunday the futures of Galvin and Utoikamanu didn’t place doubt over his decision to quit the Panthers for the Tigers next season. 

“I don’t really care what’s going on over there at the moment,” Luai said.

“I’m worried about winning my fourth ring here (at Penrith).

“That’s what matters to me, I’m not too worried about that.”

AAP