Luke Gale drops strongest hint yet he will play on Thursday

Luke Gale has revealed how he was initially prescribed medicine to relieve heartburn before undergoing emergency surgery to remove his appendix – before dropping the clearest hint yet he will return in time for Castleford’s Super League semi-final with St Helens on Thursday night.

Gale initially feared his season – and perhaps even his World Cup hopes – would be over after having surgery to remove his appendix a fortnight ago.

Doctors told him he would not return in time to face the Saints on Thursday – but Gale has hinted that he will feature, with the final call on whether he plays likely down to him.

He said: “Before the operation, they didn’t know how it would go, but it came out with the best-case scenario.

“It all went to plan and they said three weeks, did the doctors, but in rugby league we tend not to listen to doctors! As I say, it went well, the appendix is removed and I’m feeling fit and healthy again.”

However, Gale recounted the dramatic hours before he was rushed to hospital – and how he was initially told to take over-the-counter medicine to relieve his symptoms!

“I rang my physiotherapist on the Monday and, when I told what sort of pain it was, he prescribed Gaviscon,” Gale said. “He won’t thank me for that.

“The pain was pretty tough and it got gradually worse. He rang 111 for me and they came and hooked me up to a drip. The doctor said straight away ‘you’ll have to have an operation tonight’.

“It was a bit of a shock to be honest. I thought it might have been a bit of food poisoning, I didn’t have a clue. I felt a bit sick and I put it down to a gym session.

“After pressing on my stomach, she said ‘look, your season is over, you won’t be going to Australia’.

“Then someone else then came in and assured me it wasn’t that bad but for two hours I laid on the bed and thought that everything I’ve done this year has all come to and end, and it was quite hard to take.”

And Gale also ruled out any possibility of easing himself back in from the bench on Thursday should he come through a late fitness test 24 hours earlier.

“I’ve not thought about it but if I’m ready to play, there’ll be no messing about,” he said. “I don’t think the bench is an option, I’ll be chucked straight in. It’s a case of taking each day as it comes and it’s progressing slowly but surely. I’ll do a late fitness test on Wednesday and hopefully I’ll get the green light to play.”