England hooker Josh Hodgson has been ruled out of Saturday’s World Cup final with a knee injury that will almost certainly force him to miss the start of the 2018 NRL season.
The 28-year-old former Hull KR captain sustained the injury in Saturday’s 20-18 semi-final victory over Tonga and MRI scans have confirmed the worst fears of head coach Wayne Bennett.
An England spokesman said: “Hodgson will now return to Canberra for a specialist review with a view to operate.”
Hodgson, who has started four of England’s five matches so far, went off with a knee injury after 23 minutes of the game at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium and failed to return.
Bennett hinted at the potential seriousness of the injury in the post-match press conference when he said: “I’m not sure what’s going on there. I don’t think he’ll be right to play next week. You don’t normally limp off like that and play next week.”
England say scans on Sunday revealed Hodgson has suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury which normally means a knee reconstruction which could sideline him for up to nine months.
Hodgson has been a major success in the NRL since moving to Canberra three years ago and only this week spoke of his happiness over signing a new five-year contract.
It is a blow to England as they prepare to face holders Australia in Saturday’s final at Suncorp Stadium but at least they have another in-form hooker to call on.
James Roby went on to win his 30th cap as a replacement for Hodgson.