Jets sweat over potential injury to star recruit Rodriguez
Newcastle Jets are hopeful star import Patricio Rodriguez has escaped an injury despite copping a heavy challenge in the win over Brisbane Roar on Friday night.
Not long after coming on as a half-time substitute at McDonald Jones Stadium, Rodriguez was on the end of a crunching tackle from Roar midfielder Jacob Pepper.
Both of Pepper’s feet left the ground as he slid in for the tackle, with the studs of his right boot catching the Argentine playmaker.
While Rodriguez managed to continue and finish the match, he did complain of soreness at full-time.
A Jets official told www.a-league.com.au on Saturday that Rodriguez would be assessed over the weekend but they believe it’s more of an impact injury.
But a concerned Ernie Merrick criticised the challenge when he spoke with Fox Sports after the match on Friday night.
“I was very disappointed with that two-footed tackle,” the Jets boss said.
“That injured [Rodriguez] and he’s struggling with it now so I hope we don’t have another injured player.
“Why wouldn’t the VAR have another look at that tackle? It looked like a two-footed tackle.”
Asked about any potential serious injury, Merrick said: “We don’t know, we’ll just have to have a look at it.
“He [Rodriguez] said he struggled to run right after that tackle.
“But having said that he put on some fantastic balls…he’s just a fantastic player.”
With striker Roy O’Donovan still side-lined through injury, and youngster Joey Champness away on Australian U23 duty, Merrick can ill-afford another attacking star on the treatment table.
Rodriguez has made an instant impact since arriving at the Hunter club, impressing in a 45-minute cameo against Brisbane following his goal-scoring debut against the Mariners on Tuesday night.
The Jets have a full eight-day turnaround before their next match against Wellington Phoenix next Saturday at McDonald Jones Stadium.