SOME gloss has been taken off the Canberra Raiders' triumphant Wagga christening with fears John Bateman may have fractured his eye socket in Saturday's 30-12 win over Penrith.
The Englishman left the field clutching his face midway through the first half and did not return in the only down to a win which entrenched the Raiders in the top four.
Canberra have now won six of their first eight games but their improved forwards depth could now be called upon if Bateman, one of the competition's form players in his first year in the NRL, is sidelined for a few weeks.
"They've taken him to hospital to get an eye socket scanned. Hopefully it's not too many weeks if it is long term," Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said.
"He's not going to be there every game through his time here, so other have to stand up like they did today and take some responsibility.
"There's some that really stood up. (Forwards) Elliott Whitehead, Josh Papalii, and Ryan Sutton took their game to a new level because they knew Bateman was off."
Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker has suffered two eye socket fractures in his career and had his fingers crossed Bateman's is on the lower end of the scale.
"There's different versions of eye sockets, hopefully it's not too bad," Croker said.
"You've seen how good he's been for the first few weeks, we'll miss him.
If it's only a little crack it can be three or four weeks or not even sometimes, but I did my jaw and cheekbone and eye socket (with one of my fractures and was out for some time)."