FOR the second consecutive year, David Williams has suffered a season-ending injury that will see him miss Manly's finals campaign.
Almost a year to the day since he was stretchered from Brookvale Oval with a broken neck, Williams's season was again cut short on Sunday when he hobbled off with a knee injury against Newcastle.
The injury-plagued winger, who has played just 65 games in five years in the top grade, isn't expected to play again this season.
The Sea Eagles were left reeling against the Knights after injuries to Williams, Jason King, Matt Ballin and Jamie Buhrer forced them to play the final 36 minutes of the game with no troops on the bench.
Buhrer has to pass a cognitive test, but is expected to be cleared to play against Brisbane on Friday night.
Ballin has an Achilles injury and is in doubt for the clash, while King, who missed Manly's premiership triumph last year through injury, has a shoulder problem that is expected to rule him out until the first week of the play-offs.
It is understood Robbie Farah hasn't given up hope of playing this year, despite the Wests Tigers skipper fracturing his hand in the loss to Canterbury last Friday.
He is expected to elaborate on the severity of his injury when he fronts the media at their Concord headquarters this afternoon.
Veteran Sydney Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello was charged yesterday with a grade-three striking charge on Canberra's Josh Dugan.
If he takes an early plea he will miss the remaining two games of the season, but if he fights the charge and loses, he will also miss the Roosters' first trial.
Roosters chief executive Steve Noyce met Minichiello yesterday but insisted they were still undecided on whether to challenge the charge at the NRL judiciary tomorrow night.
''We haven't made a decision yet,'' he said. ''We've got until midday [today] to gather up as much information as we can. We decided to sleep on it.''
Dugan was left battered and bruised after Minichiello collected him with a forearm that saw him sent off late in the clash in Canberra on Saturday night.
He is expected to be named in coach David Furner's team for Friday night's must-win clash against the Bulldogs, the competition frontrunners. ''We see this as a challenge, we have to keep building,'' Furner said. ''I think some of the young blokes will be excited as it is a Friday night game and we are hoping for a big crowd. It is a blockbuster game.''
The Broncos are hopeful of welcoming back forwards Josh McGuire (eye) and Alex Glenn (hamstring).
The Storm are expected to be without the services of winger Matt Duffie for the rest of the year. The 22-year-old made his return from a dislocated shoulder for feeder club Cronulla in the NSW Cup on the weekend. He's likely to undergo surgery after complaining of soreness after the game.
''He got through the 80 minutes which was positive but it hasn't come on as good as we'd hoped,'' football manager Frank Ponissi said.