Ben Ross gone for 2009, are Cronulla?

Ben Ross Sharks Neck InjuryCronulla Prop Ben Ross is officially gone for the season, after spinal damage was confined and the big name prop has been confined to a hospital bed for the short term future.

Ross, 28, has undergone surgery today to repair his injured back and while some have advised him to hang up the boots, the front rower is yet to rule out a return in 2010.

The injury to Ben Ross and subsequent outage for the entire 2009 season has sent the Sharks packing; initially picked as a Top 4 candidate after strong off-season recruiting – the Cronulla side also lost strike weapon Brett Kearney in the ugly match with Penrith and many are predicting them to fall off the wagon.
Ross won’t play again this season but stated: “The injury is disappointing. It’s a setback but I’m determined to get through this and play again – but it’s one step at a time.

“I have a heap of confidence in my surgeon. He has successfully performed similar operations on NRL players recently.”

Bad news seems to spread through an NRL club like a virus these days, just as Manly were hammered by multiple scandals, the Sharks were side-swiped by more unwanted press – when club halfback Brett Seymour hit the headlines over alleged drunk and disorderly behaviour at the weekend.

Seymour celebrating with coach and teammates, but staying on too long and getting a little under the weather it seems. The club today standing Seymour down from NRL duties until further notice.

They’re dropping like flies in the Shire; with Ross, Kearney and now Seymour all on ice as the season gets underway.

The Sharks were placing a strong emphasis on attack this year, as a need to boost their try scoring was critical to their chances. With Kearney and Seymour now casualties of war, this prospect looks much more daunting. It’s hard to see where their points will come from.

While Barrett and Toupu are on-board to help improve try scoring potential, when you look at the backline – it doesn’t get you too excited. Luke Covell while a leading defender, struggles to out-run most forwards in the NRL and rangy centre Ben Pommeroy while talented, isn’t considered a genuine speedster – this requirement being more important after the dual referee system has sped the game up considerably.

Statistics today confirming, the NRL is actually 5 minutes faster since the introduction of dual referees. The whole 80 minutes seeing more ‘ball in play’ time.

Cronulla were already fielding several rookies in their opening game and with such big expectations on their shoulders, you get the feeling Trent Barrett and Anthony Toupu might be next in the firing line if things don’t go to plan. While the club has always had impressive defence under coach Ricky Stuart – their depth will most certainly be tested now.

Leading FoxSports commentator Warren Smith was a vocal critical of the Sharks performance in Round 1, such was his disappointment he felt they would struggle to now make the Top 8.

While there is plenty of season ahead of us, you get the feeling that the Sharks and also the Sydney Roosters have plenty of work to do from here.

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