Let’s face it – 2016 has been an incredibly hectic year for the physios and medical staff at Super League clubs so far. We’ve seen an unprecedented amount of injuries at almost every club, with most sides struggling to keep their key men fit. But which player has been the biggest loss for each side during the season thus far? We’ve picked out one from every club – which illustrates how bad the problems have been.
Castleford: Michael Shenton
The Tigers lost their captain in the first game of the season, way back in February against Hull Kingston Rovers, to a serious knee injury. He has not played since, and is not expected to again this season – although he is making good progress from the injury.
Catalans: Paul Aiton
The Papua New Guinea international has been sidelined for a significant period of time this season with a number of injuries, including six weeks out with the torn pectoral muscle he suffered on his debut. The Dragons will be a much better side when they get the talismanic hooker back, that is for sure.
Huddersfield: Jamie Ellis
Huddersfield’s woes have not been helped in recent months by a serious injury to scrum-half Jamie Ellis. However, two wins from their last three have suggested the Giants are starting to adjust to life without Ellis – but he will be back around Magic Weekend to give them a real boost.
Hull FC: Leon Pryce
The Black and Whites haven’t been as plagued with injury problems as most other clubs, but the absence of Leon Pryce certainly left them short in recent weeks. They did manage to keep up their impressive form without him – but now he’s back, Hull will be even stronger.
Hull KR: Terry Campese
Who else? Hull KR’s influential captain has been a crucial miss for pretty much the entirety of this season, as he injured himself on his comeback from a serious knee injury against Huddersfield earlier in the season. However, he is nearing a comeback.
Leeds: Stevie Ward
Plenty to pick from at Leeds – but we’re opting for a somewhat surprise choice. Stevie Ward was one of the unsung heroes of Leeds’ season last year, and when he was handed the number 13 shirt at the start of this year, it summed up how highly the club value him. He’s not played yet in 2016 but when he does, Leeds will be a much stronger outfit.
Salford: Daniel Vidot
Big things were expected of former Brisbane winger Daniel Vidot when he landed in England to sign for Salford – but he hasn’t managed to pull on the shirt yet. However, when he does, he’ll prove to be an astute signing for Ian Watson’s side.
St Helens: Mark Percival
Keiron Cunningham had long promised that when his strike players returned, St Helens would be a much more fearsome prospect. And since Jonny Lomax and Mark Percival have returned that has proven to be the case – but Percival in particular gives the Saints so much class, speed and talent on the edge.
Wakefield: Bill Tupou
The big centre made huge waves when he arrived in the country last year to help secure Wakefield’s place in Super League – but after only three league appearances so far this season, Trinity have definitely missed the services of the powerhouse back.
Warrington: Chris Sandow
After being Super League’s standout player in the opening few months, Warrington are slowly learning to adjust to life without Sandow – who is still expected to be out for a significant period of time following a hamstring injury.
Widnes: Kevin Brown
Brown has been limited to just nine appearances so far in 2016 – and has only played twice since mid-March. There’s no doubting that without him, Widnes are a far weaker outfit than when he is fit and firing.
Wigan: Sam Tomkins
Who else? Wigan’s marquee player is yet to get out on the field and produce his magical best yet – but Wigan are cautiously optimistic that he’ll be ready to roll next weekend!