John Bateman will miss the start of the new Super League season.
The Wigan forward is recovering from surgery to a finger he injured during the World Cup.
He has been ruled out of the opening game at Salford on February 2 but is hoping to play in at least one of the fixtures in Australia.
“We’ll see how it is,” he said. “Maybe I’ll be okay for the Hull game (on Feb 10) but, if not, hopefully the Souths game the week later.”
Bateman revealed he suffered the injury in the group win against Lebanon.
He turned down the chance to fly home for surgery in order to stay and finish the World Cup - even though he thought it would mean losing all feeling in the finger.
The 24-year-old explained: “After the Lebanon game we had a discussion about whether I should come back home and get (the operation) done straight away, or stay there and finish the tournament.
“I was told I had a three week window, or the ligament dies.
“But I thought the chance to play in a World Cup final may not come around again, so it was an easy decision to make.
“And somehow, the ligament had survived so it worked out!
“I was going to have the finger set with a slight bend in it. But when the surgeon went in, he said the ligament was still live, so all feeling should come back.”
Bateman, who is wearing a solid protective cover over his left hand, is making the most of his delayed start to action.
“It gives me five or six weeks to have a good pre-season and start the season fresh,” he added.
“The cover comes off in two weeks - I can’t wait, it’s doing my head in! - and I’m just getting as much training in as I can before I’m good to start.”