By STEVE MASCORD
AUSTRALIA’S rugby league team for the upcoming Tests against Papua New Guinea was weakened further last night when prop Craig Salvatori and hooker Steve Walters were ruled out for the rest of the tour.
Walters twisted his knee at training on Friday and Salvatori aggravated a long-standing knee problem during yesterday’s 40-6 win in the tour opener against Northern Zone in Lae.
Team manager Kevin Brasch said Walters’ brother, Brisbane hooker Kerrod, would join the team in Rabaul today while a replacement for his Salvatori was yet to be selected.
National coach Bob Fulton has asked team management to investigate the possibility of more players joining the tour, which has been dogged by injury.
“We’ve only got 20 players and with three injured at the moment, that brings us down to 17,” Fulton said.
“Another injury and we won’t even have enough players for one game.”
Brasch was last night negotiating with ARL chiefs Ken Arthurson and Bob Abbott in a bid for several more players to be sent north.
Steve Walters, who originally injured the knee in Canberra’s grand final loss to Penrith last Sunday, underwent a brief fitness Test conducted by team doctor Nathan Gibbs last night.
Gibbs examined both Salvatori and Walters and advised Brasch neither would be fit to play in any of the four remaining tour matches, including Tests next Sunday and on October 13.
However, neither will go home. They will stay on as part of the tourists’ staff.
Salvatori and Walters now join a lengthy list of internationals who have been excluded from the tour by injury.
That list includes halfbacks Allan Langer (broken nose) and Ricky Stuart (groin), second-rowers John Cartwright (back) and Mark Geyer (ankle), utility Greg Alexander (ankle), forward David Gillespie (appendicitis) and utility Des Hasler (knee).
From the ILLAWARRA MERCURY via AAP, September 30 1991