Huddersfield Giants will potentially have to start their 2024 campaign with stalwart forward Chris Hill on the sidelines, with head coach Ian Watson revealing the prop finished England duty with an injury.
Hill was a surprise selection for some in Shaun Wane’s squad given that there seemed to be a clear emphasis on building for the next World Cup in 2026, by which time Hill will be 39.
Despite those question marks over his inclusion the 36-year-old was a key player in stopping the Tongan pack getting on top, thus helping England secure the series 3-0.
Hill played in every match of the series, one of which was held at Huddersfield’s stadium, however it’s been confirmed that the prop finished the series with an injury that’s likely to see him miss all of pre-season.
Speaking to BBC West Yorkshire Sport, Ian Watson explained: “You can never say never but I think there’ll be a few probably still missing at this moment in time.
“That comes from some of the stuff that they’ve picked up either at the back end of last year or they’ve picked up in internationals just gone.”
Watson confirmed it was in fact Hill, and not Tongan Tui Lolohea, who had suffered the injury adding: “Chris Hill’s got quite a big injury.
“I think you saw him come off in the last game so he’s done his pec, so he’s a big injury for us as well and he’s a big player.
“In some ways though with him having played for England, it might be a blessing in that it might give him a little bit of a breather, because he openly admitted he’d burned out last year and he struggled to back up after the World Cup.
“So, ideally, hopefully this plays into his hands a little bit and hopefully we can get him back for the start of the season, because he is a pretty good healer to be fair.”
Asked about the timescale of the injury Watson explained that Hill’s age may work against him, meaning he will be sidelined for longer than the expected six to eight weeks for a pectoral injury.
“He’s expected to be longer than that,” Watson explained.
“Whether that’s more down to his age more so than anything else but it’s a bit of a rupture so it’s a it’s not like a small one, it’s a bad one to be fair so minimum three to four months is normally what you look out for something like that.
“Like I say we’ve been being a good healer and he’s a good professional good trainer anyway so hopefully he can get back for the start of the season. Fingers crossed.”