NRL: NZ Warriors lose Bunty Afoa to long-term injury, Freddy Lussick faces lengthy ban

NZ Warriors have added another player to their injury toll, with forward Bunty Afoa facing a considerable spell on the sidelines.

Afoa's expression spoke a thousand words, as he limped off the field at Accor Stadium during the demolition of South Sydney Rabbitohs, and the diagnosis matches, with the blockbusting prop confirmed to miss the next 6-8 weeks with a hamstring issue.

"Not a good one, unfortunately," said Warriors head coach Andrew Webster.

Freddy Lussick.
Freddy Lussick. Photo credit: Getty Images

The injury comes as another blow to the Warriors forward stocks, coming hot on the heels of Marata Niukore's foot injury, which is expected to keep him out of action for a similar timeframe.

Hooker Freddy Lussick could also be in for a long absence for very different reasons. The Australian hooker has been referred to the judiciary for a tackle that left Rabbitohs playmaker Lachlan Ilias with a broken leg during their NSW Cup clash. He faces a ban of up to eight weeks.

Afoa's early departure against the Rabbitohs resulted in heavier workloads for Tom Ale and rookie Jacob Laban, and both players stepped up to the plate with highly encouraging performances.

Webster also has prop Zyon Maiu'u waiting in the wings. The highly touted prop lasted only a few minutes during his first pre-season appearance, before being sent from the field for a dangerous tackle at Christchurch, landing him a two-match ban. He's since been a regular in the Warriors NSW Cup side.

Utility Dylan Walker is another who will remain on the sidelines this week, as he continues to nurse his long troublesome ankle.

In more positive injury news, both wing Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (hamstring) and forward Kurt Capewell (concussion) are on track to return this weekend against Manly Sea Eagles, after being scratched from the gameday squad against the Bunnies.

Webster will welcome both with open arms in anticipation of a stern test against the Sea Eagles, who are fresh off an emphatic win over reigning premiers Penrith Panthers. The Sea Eagles aggression upfront has left an impression on Webster.

"Their forwards are running the ball that hard," Webster said. "I think they're playing a really good style of footy.

"Luke Brooks looks unbelievably confident. [Tom Trbojevic] is a pretty good player, so we've got to be careful of him, but they have threats everywhere.

"It's just another awesome challenge and I think it's something the NRL are bringing every week for every game you have."

The Warriors and Sea Eagles are only separated by point differential on the NRL ladder, sitting in sixth and seventh place respectively.

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