The Cowboys will be forced into a reshuffle with two stars set for spells on the sidelines for separate offences during Friday night’s 28-16 loss to the Broncos.
Fullback Scott Drinkwater is facing three weeks on the sidelines after being slapped with a grade three shoulder charge for the hit which broke the jaw of Broncos winger Corey Oates.
With the score locked at 10-all shortly after half-time, Oates was surging towards the line when he was tackled by Drinkwater and skipper Chad Townsend.
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Oates wasn’t able to ground the ball, and immediately came to his feet clutching his jaw. Replays showed Drinkwater made little if any wrapping motion – his shoulder connected flush with Oates’ jaw.
Reports suggest it was a “clean break” with Oates spending time in hospital on Friday night.
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“Oatsey was taken to hospital last night and scans showed a displaced fracture of the jaw,” Broncos head of performance Dave Ballard said.
“He will undergo surgery today and then faces a recovery period of six to eight weeks.
“We will be doing all we can to ensure Corey is receiving the best care possible care as he is on the mend.”
Drinkwater will spend three weeks watching from the stands if pleads guilty, or four if he fights the charge and loses.
Peta Hiku has also been given a two week holiday for a first-half crusher tackle also on Oates, or three if he is found guilty at the judiciary.
Eels winger Maika Sivo was fined $1,000 for a dangerous tackle on Braydon Trindall.
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