New South Wales has been dealt a blow ahead of State of Origin I, with Blues officials confirming Luke Keary will be unavailable for selection because of concussion.
- Luke Keary was concussed during the Roosters’ NRL encounter with the Knights on Friday night
- He was set to be named at five-eighth for the Blues in the State of Origin opener against the Maroons
- Blues coach Brad Fittler still has a number of halves options he can consider in light of Keary’s injury
Keary suffered what was his fourth head knock in two years when he was concussed in the Sydney Roosters’ defeat to the Knights in Newcastle on Friday night.
Blues adviser Greg Alexander revealed coach Brad Fittler was set to name Keary in his halves for the series opener in Brisbane on June 5.
“Luke’s been in great form, he was part of the squad last year and Luke was looking like he was going to break into the team,” Alexander told ABC Grandstand.
“But I don’t think Luke will take part. He won’t be fit for game one.”
Fittler, appearing on Channel Nine’s broadcast of the Knights versus Roosters encounter, was already resigned to being without Keary.
“He’s not in a great condition,” Fittler said on Friday night.
“He’s feeling a headache, let’s put it that way. I think my biggest concern is his health at the moment.”
Keary’s absence opens the door for South Sydney halves Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds, as well as incumbent James Maloney from Penrith.
Nathan Cleary, after performing well on Thursday night, is widely tipped to keep his number seven jumper despite the Panthers’ horrid start to the NRL season.
The concussion is a cruel blow for Keary, who is arguably the form player of the league following on from his Clive Churchill Medal display in last year’s grand final.
The back of his head bounced on the turf in Newcastle after being bullocked by Daniel Saifiti in the eighth minute.
He momentarily lay prone before staggering from the field.
His latest concussion comes five weeks after also being forced to miss the club’s traditional Anzac Day clash due to a head knock.