Daniel Vidot is expected to get his first taste of NRL this year as a replacement for the injured Chase Stanley, after being cleared of fighting by the NSW Rugby League judiciary yesterday.
While coach Steve Price is expected to name Stanley today and give him until Thursday to prove his fitness, the Dragons won’t take a gamble on the Hurstville United junior given his extensive injury history.
Stanley, who just edged out Vidot for the right centre position, was strong in the Dragons opening round loss to Melbourne on Saturday.
With younger brother Kyle already missing this year after re-rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament last year, there were immediate fears for Chase, who left Melbourne in a knee brace.
Teammate Jason Nightingale feared the worst.
‘‘I was pretty shattered when it happened,’’ Nightingale said.
‘‘The second I got to ask [high performance director] Andrew Gray what was wrong, he assured me that it wasn’t too bad.
‘‘It made me feel a little better especially with the Stanley boys’ history.’’
‘‘Each time one of them goes down you fear the worst.
The minor knee sprain is expected to keep Stanley out for at least one week, possibly two.
Vidot played on the wing for the Cutters and was placed on report for fighting but was cleared yesterday.
He faces a tough task marking England international Jack Reed on Friday night, alongside Nightingale on the Dragons right edge.
Nightingale was upbeat regarding his team’s loss during a recovery session at North Cronulla yesterday.
‘‘We gave away too many errors and gave away a few too many penalties,’’ he said.
‘‘Our timing in attack was still a bit off, we created things but not enough.’’
Nightingale, who received seven stitches on his chin after a head clash with Storm back-rower Ryan Hoffman in the second half, was a beneficiary of the Dragons best attacking raid of the match, scoring in the corner after some great ball movement.
After the try he emphasised the importance of his teammates keeping their shape in attack.
‘‘We want to make sure we have lots of options for people to hit,’’ Nightingale said.
‘‘Everyone’s timing was on in that play but that didn’t happen a lot of the game.
‘‘That’s an example of what we can do if we can get it right.’’
The Dragons devoted a large part of their pre-season to using the ball.
But they haven’t scored more than two tries in their past two outings.
‘‘I think we’re one game away from it clicking,’’ Nightingale said.
‘‘You can see the way things are flowing and there’s a lot more ball movement, even with our forwards.’’
Dragons forward Jack de Belin is facing a two-game ban for a dangerous throw after being placed on report playing for the Cutters.