Ben Cockayne was once again deep in his own ’20’ fielding a Warrington kick. Spotting a gap in the wall of advancing chasers he ducked and jinked, just hitting the seam between Paul Johnson and Adrian Morley.
For a second it looked as if he’d been held. Then he shrugged free as Morley uncharacteristically fell-off the tackle. And for an instant it looked like he could break for a long gain. He didn’t, but by the time he was corralled few cared, as all eyes turned back to the forlorn figure of Morley.
The big GB forward was standing, head bowed, gingerly fingering his injured cheekbone.
“He got a bang right on the exact point (of his original fracture)”, coach Paul Cullen admitted after the game. “There’s nothing conclusive yet, we’ll re-assess it and he’ll see a specialist Monday”.
Morley, who reportedly felt the area move and some numbness after the hit, understandably did not look well as he was helped from the field. Here he was in his second appearance in Wolves colours in six rounds of Super League and he has yet to complete a game.
If tests do indeed reveal further damage to the fracture then Morley is facing a lengthy layoff and there must be questions over both the wisdom of playing so soon after the original injury and his long term future; the face is not an area that it is easy to protect.
Whether Morley would have returned had Warrington not been deprived of half backs Lee Briers and Chris Bridge is a moot point now.
And Morley is not the first athlete whose impatience to get back into action has proved costly.
Let’s just hope the injury is less than it might be and that Mozzer is soon back to his pestiferous best.
Another forward trying to shake of injury is Saints’ GB international Paul Sculthorpe and he too may wonder if Saturday was perhaps a ‘game too soon’ to come back. Sculthorpe looked a shadow of his self and was obviously struggling with the pace of the game as Saints went down to Hull FC.
After his inspirational – almost fairy tale – impact appearance in the World Club Challenge, maybe it was a gamble he and coach, Daniel Anderson, felt worthwhile; but you have to wonder if he’d have been better served by a longer rehab.
Both these situations are indicative of the increased competitiveness in engage Super League XII.
All of the expected title contenders have already dropped points to teams they would have blown away in years past, which ratchets up the pressure as each round passes.
Great news for fans … a tough challenge for coaches, players and – apparently – medics.