Laurie was helped from the field by medicos in the opening minute after being smashed in a tackle by Warriors second-rower Eliesa Katoa, prop Ben Murdoch-Masila and hooker Taniela Otukolo, which left the 22-year-old speedster clutching at his right ankle as the ball spilled out.
The Tigers are facing the colossal task of climbing from 13th on the ladder, where they are two wins outside the top eight, to claiming their first finals appearance since 2011.
That mission will be made significantly more difficult if Laurie, a genuine contender for this year’s NRL rookie of the year, is ruled out for the season.
Rugby league great Michael Ennis grimaced as replays rolled through of Laurie getting hammered in the tackle.
“It’s a heavy collision,” Ennis said on Fox League’s coverage.
“Katoa over the top, then comes Murdoch-Masila. The ball comes loose. He just gets caught in an awkward position, watch his right leg here, just gets stuck and dragged underneath. That’s ugly. You don’t like to see that.”
Ennis had high praise for Laurie’s second season in the NRL.
In a swap deal completed in February, Laurie crossed from the Panthers to the Tigers as Penrith attained Paul Momirovski.
Laurie has since collected seven NRL tries and injected spark into the Tigers attack.
“There had been talk around about Laurie in the lower grades but he didn’t come with any great expectation for his first season,” Ennis said.
“He’s been their best, he has saved them a number of times this year, he’s come up with individual brilliance that’s either got them back into the contest or won games on the back of his individual brilliance.”
The Tigers are one of seven clubs vying for seventh or eighth on the ladder with six rounds remaining.
Michael Maguire‘s men await one of the easiest runs home in the competition, with two games against the Bulldogs and clashes with the Cowboys, Sharks and Panthers ahead. The Panthers loom as the Tigers’ only giant threat over the remaining stretch of games.
“Heading towards now the back end of the season, these final few games, they’ve got a pretty favourable draw,” Ennis said.
“This would be devastating for Michael Maguire and the Tigers to lose their young superstar fullback in Laurie. He’s been brilliant.”
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