ALBERT Kelly is not likely to play for Hull Kingston Rovers again this year after the club secured a win against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats over the weekend, lessening the need to rush him into action again as he struggles with a knee problem.
They fear a lengthy absence for the Australian-born player if he is risked again. The 24-year-old playmaker featured in the Challenge Cup defeat against Leeds Rhinos at Wembley the previous week, but he was left out of the Rovers squad for their tense 20-18 win against Wakefield at the KC Lightstream Stadium on Sunday, which put the East Hull-based club on the brink of securing their Super League place for next year.
Rovers had already lost Terry Campese for the season with knee problems and will now turn to Dane Chisholm and Matty Marsh as their half-back pairing for the rest of this campaign.
Their remaining games start with Bradford Bulls on Saturday afternoon, which is followed by matches against Sheffield Eagles and Salford Red Devils.
Speaking after the win over Wakefield, Rovers head coach Chris Chester said: “He’s only five or six weeks into a 12-week injury. He’s a tough kid. He played in the final. But the problem is that, if it goes, it’s a six-month job – and I’m not willing to risk him so late in the season.
“Had the result not gone our way [against Wakefield], we might be having a different conversation. But we’ve got through it and Albert probably won’t play again until next year.”
Discussing Marsh and Chsholm’s display against Wakefield, Chester said: “I wasn’t happy with the first 20 or 25 minutes. I thought we tried over-playing. I thought, in the second half, we took control. Chis [Chisholm] probably had his best game for us. Matty Marsh defended very well. I’m happy with those two and they’ll be the half-back partnership until the end of the year.”
Liam Salter had a tight hamstring in training before the Wakefield game and – although he was named on the team sheet – he was withdrawn after feeling the problem during the warm-up to the match. Rovers decided it was not worth risking him.