A groin injury to Cronulla star Shaun Johnson could hand the axed Matt Moylan a reprieve for Saturday’s NRL game against North Queensland.
Moylan was a surprise omission from the Sharks’ side to face the Cowboys at Jubilee Stadium, left on an extended bench and outside the 17.
Johnson was due to return to Cronulla’s line-up after missing last week’s 38-12 defeat to ladder-leaders Penrith.
But the New Zealand international re-injured his groin at training and was on Friday ruled out of taking on the 14th-placed Cowboys.
The eighth-placed Sharks have replaced Johnson in the squad with rookie halfback Braydon Trindall, but the more experienced Moylan could be slotted back in for the game.
Earlier on Friday before Johnson’s injury was confirmed, Cronulla coach John Morris said he needed to take a “stand” on out-of-sorts 29-year-old Moylan.
“‘Moys’ has a few clear parts of his game he needs to work on,” Morris said.
“He’s had three games there, that by his own standards, haven’t been good enough.
“He’s had another interrupted sort of year and that’s affected his confidence.
“His body hasn’t quite allowed him to play how he would like to play.
“I just need to make a stand for what we need to do in defence and Moys had a couple of mishaps last week.”
Morris suggested the former NSW State of Origin representative could learn from some of rugby league’s greats in how to deal with the blow.
“All players face adversity throughout their career,” Morris said.
“I look at other key players across the NRL who have been put out this year; Benji Marshall’s a really good case in point.
“(Marshall) got put out of the team and put his hand up for what he needed to work on, was really positive in the background.
“He’s come back in and playing good footy.
“I know (Moylan) will do that, it’s just how he responds to it.”