FORMER Port Macquarie Shark Scott Dureau is recovering in hospital after surgery to remove a tumour from behind his eye.
The Taree-born Dureau, who was a Newcastle Knight in the NRL and who now plays halfback for the Catalans Dragons in the English Super League, was diagnosed last week and had an operation at Prince of Wales Private Hospital in Sydney on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old’s family were too upset to comment when contacted by the Newcastle Herald on Friday night.
‘‘We’ve had a hell of a week,’’ Dureau’s father, Dennis, said. ‘‘We are way too emotional [to talk] at the moment.’’
Dureau and his Newcastle girlfriend, Libby Cairney, had returned to Australia to spend time with family during the Super League off-season and were due to return to France on January 1.
Catalans coach Laurent Frayssinous told the BBC the tumour was removed ‘‘without any complications’’.
‘‘It’s bad news that affects the club in its entirety, but we need to be united and strong and overcome it as a team," Frayssinous said.
‘‘Scott must focus on his health and on his full recovery. We want to express our support to Scott and his family.’’
The BBC reported Dureau would face time out of the game while he recovered from the surgery.
Dureau, who joined Catalans from the Knights following the 2010 NRL season, was named in the 2011 and 2012 Super League Dream Teams and played for the Exiles against England in a mid-season international.
He claimed the 2012 Albert Goldthorpe Medal in September, awarded to the Super League’s ‘‘best and fairest’’.
Dureau signed with the Newcastle Knights in 2003.
He made his debut against Manly in round 22 of the 2007 season and went on to play 42 games for the Knights in four seasons.
He has excelled at halfback since signing with Catalans, scoring 24 tries and kicking 228 goals and eight field goals in 59 appearances.
A breakout season in 2011 led to Dureau signing a contract to remain at the French club until the end of the 2015 season.
Rugby league fans took to Twitter last night to wish Dureau a speedy recovery.
- Sam Rigney, Newcastle Herald