The Roar
The Roar


Bennett feels for Gilbert after ACL tear continues wretched injury run for luckless Origin star

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25th February, 2024

Tom Gilbert will have scans on his injured knee on Monday as the Dolphins and Queensland prepare for the likelihood of another campaign without him.

The 23-year-old went down without contact while trying to make a tackle on Warriors centre Rocco Berry in the Dolphins’ 34-22 loss in Auckland in an NRL pre-season trial on Saturday.

Gilbert’s knee twisted and he could be seen screaming in pain as he fell to the ground, before being helped off the field by two medical team members.

Coach Wayne Bennett said initial tests indicated he had torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in what would be a season-ending blow.

“He’ll go for a scan but it looks like it is an ACL injury. The (medical staff) haven’t confirmed it yet but that is what they believe because of the symptoms,” Bennett told AAP.

“It is disappointing but that’s the game they play. I admire Tom because he does his best for you all the time.

“He’s just to get it right, come back and go again. He is not the first player this has happened to.”


A lengthy spell out would be a cruel turn for the Dolphins entering their second season.

But even more so for Gilbert, who missed more than half of the 2023 campaign after a shoulder injury sustained in State of Origin required surgery.

Bennett has strong depth to call on but Gilbert, who last year inked an extension with the Dolphins until the end of 2028, is the side’s spiritual leader who drives standards on and off the field.

“We all want Tom to be playing but it is not going to happen,” Bennett said.

“We have quality players in the squad so we just have to get on with the season.”

Tough Dolphins forward Ray Stone ruptured his ACL two years ago at Parramatta. Last year at the Dolphins he battled injury and had shoulder surgery in the off-season. The uncompromising lock looms as a prime contender to fill Gilbert’s position.


“Ray is in the Tom Gilbert category. He plays the same type of footy,” Bennett said.

Gilbert didn’t start Saturday’s contest and had made only one run before his injury, in what was his second game back from a shoulder reconstruction.

“He’s in there pretty disappointed at the moment, obviously just coming back from last year’s injury in the Origin,” Dolphins assistant coach Nathan Fien said post-game.

“He’s a big part of our team and we are just gutted for him at the moment but obviously we just have to wait and see what the scans say.”