July 24, 2024

Eels lose J’maine Hopgood, who signs monster $847.3 million contract…

J’maine Hopgood has been ruled out for the season after undergoing lower back surgery in another blow to Parramatta’s underwhelming NRL campaign. The Eels and Maroons forward hasn’t played since backing up for his club in Round 14 just five days after making his State of Origin debut for Queensland in the series opener.

A big shot from NSW’s Liam Martin inflamed his pre-existing back injury during the Origin series opener earlier this month. The lock forward played restricted minutes in the loss to Canterbury five days after his Origin debut and hasn’t featured in the NRL since.

Hopgood pulled up sore before the Eels’ most recent game against the Sydney Roosters and was sent to see a specialist who deemed surgery to be the best course of action. Hopgood has since undergone a microdiscectomy – surgery to remove the bulging part of a disc – to fix sciatic pain aggravated in the Maroons’ Game 1 win.

The Eels back-rower will now face at least 12 weeks on the sideline, meaning the only way he plays football again in 2024 is if the Eels make finals, which is incredibly unlikely as they would likely need to win nine of their last 10 games.

Hopgood’s long-term absence is the latest in a string of blows for the Eels, who currently sit bottom of the ladder for the first time since 2018. He joins injured teammates Kelma Tuilagi, Bailey Simonsson and Ofahiki Ogden on the sidelines. While injuries to star players Mitch Moses and Clint Gutherson have worked against Parramatta this season, with the club’s poor string of results seeing long-term coach Brad Arthur fired.

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