Nathan Cleary and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck injury drama shines light on concerning NRL trend

Cleary and Tuivasa Sheck are the latest two NRL stars sidelined with hamstring injuries.

NRL stars Nathan Cleary and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck are the two latest high-profile players to face a stint on the sidelines after picking up hamstring injuries. The pair joined Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic in the casualty ward from round 10.

Cleary picked up a hamstring injury on Friday night that is expected to rule him out of at least the first State of Origin game in June. The Penrith half was forced off the field before half-time in the Panthers' 16-10 win over the Bulldogs.

The Panthers star knew immediately his night was over, reaching for his hamstring and coming straight off the field. Cleary's stop-start season looks set to continue after feeling pain in his left hamstring, a reoccurring problem for the star halfback. He will undergo crucial scans on Saturday which will determine just how severe his latest setback is.

Nathan Cleary and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck are the two latest high profile players to face a stint on the sidelines after picking up hamstring injuries. Image: Getty
Nathan Cleary and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck are the latest high profile players to face a stint on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury. Image: Getty

Penrith's medicos were unclear if the strain was in the same spot as the injury that sidelined him recently. Cleary has managed just five games this season after succumbing to a leg injury in round three.

The club took a conservative approach with their halfback as they knew his irreplaceable value to the team. He returned in round eight against the Cowboys but was rested last week as a precaution before making his return to take on the Bulldogs.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 28:  Injured Panthers player Nathan Cleary looks on before the round four NRL match between Sydney Roosters and Penrith Panthers at Allianz Stadium on March 28, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Nathan Cleary has managed just five games this season after succumbing to a leg injury in round three.

Before his injury, Cleary's kicking game proved to be the difference between the two sides, leading his side to a 12-0 lead before being forced off. And the injury woes didn't stop there for Penrith, with Cleary's replacement, Brad Schneider, unlikely to be available for at least next week after suffering what appeared to be a serious leg injury in the NSW Cup.

Schneider was taken out while kicking the ball on Friday with Canterbury's young back-rower Kitione Kautoga sin-binned for his actions. It means youngster Jack Cole will most likely to partner Jarome Luai in the halves in next week's Magic Round match. Cole replaced Cleary at half-time on Friday night.

While the struggling Warriors appear to have been dealt another brutal blow, with star centre Roger Tuivasa-Sheck ruled out indefinitely with injury. The Daily Telegraph reports Tuivasa-Sheck suffered a hamstring strain during training on Friday and will miss at least Sunday's match against the Roosters.

The strain is understood to be on the lower end of the severity scale but it will still likely rule out the former Dally M medalist for a few weeks. Tuivasa-Sheck has played in every game since his return from rugby and his absence is a big loss for a side whose backline has failed to fire in recent weeks.

The centre joins a mounting list of injured Warriors, which already features Luke Metcalf, Marata Niukore, Chanel Harris-Tavita, and Kurt Capewell. The 30-year-old has dealt with hamstring injuries in the past, with a strain cutting his 2020 campaign short in the penultimate week of the regular season.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 25: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Warriors during the round eight NRL match between New Zealand Warriors and Gold Coast Titans at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart, on April 25, 2024, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Warriors star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been ruled out indefinitely with a hamstring injury.

Hamstring injuries are one of the most common sports-related injuries and have become increasingly prevalent in the NRL in recent years. The hamstring muscle group is in the back of the thigh, with the muscles attached to the pelvis and the tibia (shin bone).

The hamstrings extend the hip and flex and bend the knee. Therefore, they are subjected to a lot of force. The hamstring muscle group is key in propelling a player forward when sprinting and is key to a player's explosiveness.

The muscles are often injured as a result of fatigue, loss of flexibility- which comes with age, and high-intensity workload. With the NRL faster than ever before, the amount of hamstring injuries was bound to increase.


Gone are the days of rest periods every time the ball goes out of play or when a penalty is awarded. With shot clocks for scrums and line dropouts and six agains largely replacing the regulation penalty, players no longer get the breaks they once did. The forwards of old such as George Rose and his destructive 10-minute stint, have been replaced by props expected to play a minimum of 25 minutes straight and back rowers have largely become 80-minute men.

A huge focus has also been put on quick play the balls and explosive hole running. With the intensity of the NRL on the up and short turnaround games such as from Sunday afternoon to Thursday night, it is no surprise hamstring injuries are on the rise. With effort and intensity at an all-time high and rest periods at an all-time low, unless the game is slowed down, the amount of hamstring injuries will only continue to grow.