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Double blow for Bunnies star out SIX months on sidelines after surgery blow and another leaving for Super League

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8th February, 2024
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Souths are set to be without one of the most important players after it was revealed that Kangaroos World Cup winner Campbell Graham is to undergo surgery on a long-standing sternum problem.

The centre played with the injury for most of last season and was expected to recover in time for 2024, but despite training throughout the pre-season, the club has opted to put him under the knife to fix the issue more permanently.

In a sign of how much the Bunnies thought that Graham would be able to start this year, he was their representative on the promotional tour of Las Vegas, where they will face Manly in Round 1. Now, he will not take part at all.

“Rabbitohs centre Campbell Graham will undergo surgery next week to repair damage to his sternum which see him sidelined for up to six months,” read a statement from the club.

“Graham played through the injury throughout the 2023 season and has trained throughout the pre-season, however a decision has been made to undergo surgery on the affected area.

“Graham is expected to be back on the field for South Sydney at the back-end of the regular season.”

The player was at the centre of the best things that Souths did in 2023, opening up a right-side attack along with Keaon Koloamatangi, and will be a big miss for the start of 2024.

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His absence opens a pathway for Isaiah Tass to continue in the centre – albeit on the other side – after the arrival of Jack Wighton, who is expected to begin the year on the left edge, Tass’ old role.

Tass may have otherwise played on the wing, meaning that someone else will get a chance there – likely gun youngster Tyrone Munro, who occasionally filled in last year.

Graham’s sternum had been causing him problems going back as far as Origin in 2023.

The centre was called up to the NSW camp as 18th man, having previously impressed for Australia in the World Cup in 2022, but was released back to his club after it was revealed that he couldn’t train due to the injury that has now forced him out.

Meanwhile, South Sydney’s Burgess era is drawing to a close after prop Tom announced he will sign off with the Rabbitohs at the end of 2024 and finish his career in England’s Super League.

The 31-year-old will leave Souths for Huddersfield, where he has signed a three-year deal.

His exit will bring to an end the family’s near 15-year association with the Rabbitohs, which started when brother Sam was wooed to Redfern by Russell Crowe in 2010.

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Luke, the eldest of the four brothers, followed suit soon after before Tom and twin George left Yorkshire for life in Sydney to make it a true family affair. 

In August 2013, the quartet became the first set of four brothers to play in the same match in Australia in more than a century.

Sam, George and Tom played in Souths’ drought-breaking 2014 grand final victory. 

While all his brothers have retired in recent years – and Sam left his role as an assistant at Souths in acrimonious circumstances to coach Warrington last year – Tom has proved the most durable.

The 33-cap England international has played 225 NRL games for Souths and is on track to surpass Adam Reynolds as the club’s second-most-capped player, behind John Sutton. 

“I’m happy to know that my future is sorted but my immediate focus is on winning another premiership with South Sydney,” Tom said in a statement. 

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“We have a huge eight months ahead of us as we work towards our combined goal of winning our club’s 22nd premiership.”

Elsewhere on Thursday, St George Illawarra announced the signing of Christian Tuipulotu. The winger was granted a release from Manly and will join the Dragons on a two-year deal. 

with AAP

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