‘It’s disappointing’: Petaia’s Super season over – and it could end his Reds career


Jordan Petaia may have played his last match for the Reds, with the off-contract Wallabies back to miss the rest of the Super Rugby season.

After despondently making his way off Suncorp Stadium in the 33rd minute during the Reds’ 31-0 shutout win over the Highlanders on Friday night, coach Les Kiss confirmed that Petaia would miss the rest of the Super Rugby season with a shoulder injury.

“Likely surgery … likely be out for the season,” Kiss said ahead of Saturday’s clash with the top-of-the-table Blues.

“He’s disappointed. It’s a blow, without a doubt. A player of his calibre and the type of game he brings.

“Couple that with (the suspended) Fraser (McReight), Tate (McDermott), Seru (Uru, thumb) … some good players unavailable.”

Jordan Petaia has possibly played his last match for the Queensland Reds after leaving the field with a shoulder injury against the Highlanders at Suncorp Stadium on April 19, 2024. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The good news is that Petaia isn’t likely to need a shoulder reconstruction.

While Kiss didn’t go into a likely return-to-play timeline, The Roar understands he will miss up to three months with the injury.

It means he will likely miss the July Tests against Wales and Georgia.

Beyond that, the two-time World Cup member’s future in the Wallabies jersey could come down to whether he decides to stay in rugby.

The 24-year-old is considering whether to re-sign with the Reds, head overseas to either Japan or France, switch codes to the NRL, or, the most audacious of the lot, attempt to follow Welsh flyer Louis Rees-Zammit by being signed by an NFL club via their International Pathway Program.

Yet, given Rugby Australia is trying to tighten their belt buckles (yet also throwing money at Max Jorgensen to stay at the Waratahs, with Joseph Suaalii and his handsome wage to follow), Petaia is unlikely to stay in the game.

Despite Petaia’s most recent injury ensuring the versatile back can’t make a case on the field, Kiss was holding out hope he would stay at the Reds.

“Those are conversations with RA but we’d like to ensure he stays around. I don’t think it complicates anything in my head,” Kiss said of retaining Petaia.

“He’s a good rugby player … hopefully he’s alright by the end of the season and could do some more things then.”

Two-time World Cup Wallaby Jordan Petaia is off contract at season’s end. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Petaia has divided opinion in recent years, with the talented back not quite kicking on as many had hoped after featuring prominently at outside centre under Michael Cheika at the 2019 World Cup quarter-final as a teenager.

Since then injuries, as well as his ability to play right across the backline, have slowed his development but the Reds back started regularly at outside centre during last year’s World Cup campaign under Eddie Jones.

Former Wallabies inside back Matt To’omua said Petaia offered an attacking threat few others provide in Australia.

“I like Jordan at 13 and seeing him at 13 on the weekend made me a bit excited because I feel like that’s his position, it allows him to assert himself physically in both defence and attack,” To’omua told The Roar Rugby podcast.

“You saw him in 30 minutes hold up a guy and make a turnover.

“I know as an attacker, I don’t want to be running down Jordan Petaia’s and Hunter Paisami’s [channel] and I don’t know if we’ve always had that fear in Australian rugby in our midfield, so it is disappointing [he’s injured].

“I’m sure he’ll come back stronger. Unfortunately, it’s something that he’s had to do many, many times.”

In better news, the Reds are likely to be able to call on the services of Josh Flook to fill the void of Petaia to take on the Blues in Saturday’s Anzac blockbuster after missing last week’s match with a shoulder injury.

Star flanker Fraser McReight has also had his suspension for a high tackle reduced from three to two weeks after completing World Rugby’s coaching mitigation course.

That means the Wallabies back-rower will be available for next week’s clash with the Crusaders.

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