The playing future of Wests Tigers winger Lote Tuqiri is in doubt after the dual international suffered a broken arm against the Bulldogs last night, ending his season.
Tuqiri, the former Brisbane player who, after a stint in rugby union, returned to the NRL in 2010 with the Tigers, will have surgery tomorrow, having suffered a break to his upper arm following a collision with teammate Adam Blair.
''The arm's broken, so that'll be the end of his season,'' Tigers coach Tim Sheens said.
That is certain. But what of next year? Tuqiri's future with the Tigers was already clouded, but last night's injury will complicate his future even further. One thing that can be said, the way Tuqiri's season ended last night, in the eighth minute of the contest, is that it's not the way he would wish to finish his illustrious career. That is one reason Tuqiri will be desperate to play on next year and beyond that, even if there are doubts about whether he will be at the Tigers.
Tuqiri is off contract at the end of the season, and talks between him and the club have so far failed to bring about a new deal. Tuqiri had been keen to secure a two-year deal but the Tigers had baulked at that.
That said, Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys said the club would continue to discuss the former Queensland and Australian representative's future with him.
''Right now, our focus is on trying to comfort him and his wife, and get him to hospital and book surgery,'' Humphreys said. ''But in terms of his playing future, that'll sort itself out in the next few weeks.
''Lote's keen to continue playing, and this would not be a good way for it to end. I hope that's not the case. What he was focusing on was trying to get a good bank of footy over the next month to demonstrate his capabilities. But that's sadly not going to be the case.
''We'll just have to work out what we're going to do over the next few weeks or so.''
Tuqiri has had a wretched run with injuries in recent seasons, having broken his wrist last year. While that has stalled his football, it will no doubt steel him to keep playing.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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