The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have been dealt a huge blow with secondary scans revealing iron-man Hooker, Matt Ballin, could miss the remainder of the season with a fractured fibula.
Ballin, who has played 182 consecutive first grade games for the Sea Eagles, suffered the injury in the 16th minute of the match when he had a hand setting up Jamie Buhrer’s try to get the team on the board.
He then proceeded to play the next 22 minutes with a broken leg…
“I was just in a bit of pain and didn’t really know where I was from the tackle,” Ballin said.
“As I got moving my leg was sore and I just thought it was a bit of a cork, which happen quite regularly but it didn’t seem to get better.
“I tried to stay out there until half-time but then saw the doctor and they made the call to pull me off and not go back on in the second half which was disappointing but that’s what happens. In the end, it was a really good call by them putting my safety first.”
“It’s disappointing the whole thing, but we’ve got great depth at the Club and I’m sure the players who step in to fill the spot will do a great job.”
Despite the injury putting a stop to his amazing run of matches that went back to Round One in 2008, the dummy-half remained upbeat about his chances of a return deep in to the NRL finals series.
“It’s a bit disappointing coming at this time of the season but that’s the way rugby league goes and I’m sure the rest of the players who step in will do the job well,” Ballin said.
“There is five weeks left, hopefully, for the Manly Sea Eagles in the competition and these things tend to take a bit of time.
“Hopefully the boys do a great job in the next game, then the semi finals and then I can be back for some games towards the end of the year.”
The affable number nine’s run of 182 consecutive games is only bettered by Jason Taylor’s 194 and the Gold Coast Titans’s Luke Douglas ‘s mark of 215 and is a record he is extremely proud of.
“It’s really high for me and it’s a real honour just to play for Manly and that’s why I want to play each week and play the best I can with my teammates every weekend."
“I just enjoy playing for Manly. I enjoy playing week-in, week-out and playing predominantly most of the game,” Ballin said.
“Just to play for them every week for the last few seasons has been a real highlight for me and for my whole career,” Ballin added.