Dragons centre Gerard Beale has been ruled out of Saturday night’s Charity Shield with a jaw injury.
Young gun Charly Runciman will replace him in the starting lineup after Beale was on Thursday ruled out of the match by Dragons medical staff.
Beale was named at centre in Steve Price’s 19-man squad for the match, but aggravated the injury playing for the Illawarra Cutters last weekend while his Dragons teammates were at the Auckland Nines.
It is a disappointing set-back for the former Brisbane Bronco who initially came to the Dragons as a long-term replacement for premiership-winning fullback Darius Boyd.
An ACL tear ended Beale’s 2013 season after just five games and, with the club’s acquisition of NSW origin fullback Josh Dugan, the 23-year-old is looking to cement his place in the centres.
Beale is expected to be fit for the Dragons’ round one match with the Wests Tigers.