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Barba injury sours big Bulldogs win

Canterbury's NRL premiership aspirations could be rocked by an ankle syndesmosis injury to Ben Barba sustained in Friday's facile 40-12 win over struggling Parramatta.
Barba injury sours big Bulldogs win
by AAP

By Ian McCullough

SYDNEY, July 26 AAP - Canterbury's NRL premiership aspirations could be rocked by an ankle syndesmosis injury to Ben Barba sustained in Friday's facile 40-12 win over struggling Parramatta.

Barba limped off just 10 minutes into the game after damaging his right ankle scoring the Bulldogs' third try to put a dampener on a good night at the office for Des Hasler's men.

"He's probably got what they call a syndesmosis and we'll know the full story tomorrow when he has a scan but it will be weeks," Hasler said.

Canterbury were helped to a comfortable win by some hapless defending by the cellar-dwelling Eels who look destined to claim the wooden spoon for a second successive year.

Although the absence of Barba didn't affect them too much, losing the reigning Dally M Medallist for a long period would be a big blow to their hopes of a top-four finish.

There have been cases of syndesmosis injuries keeping players sidelined for up to three months - which is what happened to Sydney Roosters skipper Anthony Minichiello in 2009.

The win took Canterbury to within a point of fourth-placed Manly, who play on Monday, but Hasler said it was too early to rule Barba out for the year.

"If he was out for a couple of weeks and we were near the end of the season it would be a big concern, but we still have six weeks to go," he said.

"The medical team had a look at it, they did what they had to do and put it in a boot. We'll know more tomorrow."

Veteran Sam Perrett filled in at fullback for the remaining 70 minutes at ANZ Stadium and Hasler said he would almost certainly remain there while Barba is out.

"Sammy is a pretty logical replacement. He has played a lot at one and is very experienced," he said.

"He is a pretty cool customer."

The Bulldogs ran in seven tries with Parramatta grabbing two consolations late in the game to avoid a second successive shut out after last week's 14-0 loss to Canberra.

But the defeat was their ninth in a row and their cause was not helped by an embarrassing opening 10 minutes when they conceded three soft tries, kicked out on the full and also botched a short kick-off attempt from the opening whistle.

Beleaguered coach Ricky Stuart said his side are at a stage of their season where they have to take gambles.

But if they do, it will be without injured skipper Jarryd Hayne who could miss the remainder of the season with his troublesome hamstring injury.

Stuart said it would be wrong to rush Hayne back, but would attempt to get him back if Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens wants him in his World Cup squad which will depart for the UK in October.

"He might be able to be back for two or three games," Stuart said.

"I've got to make a decision then if Tim wants him on the World Cup trip at the end of the year then we'll start working him to get fit for that and get him some game time.

"If not I'll make a decision on whether or not I'm going to play him again this year, but he's still a couple of weeks away."




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