To add salt to the wound for Melbourne after their 14-0 loss to Parramatta on Thursday night, the Storm have added to their long injury list with Brandon Smith suffering a suspected broken jaw.
The Kiwi hooker went down in the very last minutes of the game after attempting to charge towards the try-line from close range.
“He hits a shoulder,” Andrew Johns said in Nine’s commentary during replays of the tackle impact.
“He may have broken his jaw here.
“He doesn’t understand pain. And when the trainer went to poke him in the jaw he went, ‘Don’t touch it, don’t touch it’.”
Smith needed immediate medical attention as he appeared in visible discomfort on the Bankwest Stadium turf, pointing to his cheek. He looked unable to move his jaw as he was escorted off the field by trainers.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy later confirmed after the game that the club believe Smith may have a broken jaw.
“He looked very distraught,” sideline commentator Brad Fittler noted of Smith as he walked to the sheds.
“He had this look in his eye. I don’t know whether it was pain or anguish, but it was not good.
“Not a good sign for Melbourne, with already 11 players down.”
Brandon Smith leaves the field late in the second half
Fittler recalled on Macca’s Golden Point post-game show that Smith “looked distressed” and that when the trainer asked him a question he was unable to answer.
“I think everyone is a fan of Brandon Smith, and hopefully he gets better,” the NRL legend said.
Prior to the injury, Smith was a rare highlight for his injury-hit side, in what was a difficult night for the Storm.
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His try-saving tackle in the second half to deny Michael Jennings an almost certain try for Parramatta was hailed by commentators.
“He plays at the arm, not the ball, this will be a knock-on. Smart play,” Johns said of the try-stopping effort.
“That’s a big play. That’s a massive play,” Phil Gould added.
Smith finished the game with 106 metres gained, two offloads and a team-high 42 tackles.