Super League has been writhe with injuries this season. Many have credited the sheer volume to the number of games players had to play in a short period of time last year as well as the smaller pre-season afforded to most sides.
Such injuries have put pressure on plenty of teams and forced them to go deep into their squad. Plenty of fans will no doubt claim that their side would be in a better position if not for the many injuries faced this year.
But which player has your team missed the most? Let’s have a look.
Castleford: Niall Evalds
If you doubt this selection, go back and re-watch Castleford’s semi-final win over Warrington. He gave the Tigers another dimension. He stretched the Wolves defence again and again. As Castleford’s big winter signing, there were massive expectations on the fullback and when fit he’s lived up to the hype. When he doesn’t play, their attack loses something.
Catalans: Matt Whitley
The Dragons have been fairly fortunate with injuries this year. Even when they’ve faced injuries, most of the time they have adequate reinforcements. That’s also true of Whitley. That said, I was so impressed by his early season form that for me even if the Dragons back-row is still playing well without him, I think they miss what he brings to the side week in week out.
Huddersfield Giants: Aidan Sezer
Although now fit, the Giants looked lost without him earlier this season. Their slow start to the campaign could easily be attributed to his absence. It was no surprise that Huddersfield’s upturn in form coincided with his return. An outstanding organiser, he’s one of the best players in the league and any side would miss him.
Hull FC: Scott Taylor
Chris Satae and Ligi Sao have been outstanding in the front row this season. However, the Black and Whites have struggled for props other than the duo. Bringing the brilliant Scott Taylor back into the fold will certainly give Hull greater fire power down the middle of the field and his return would take the pressure of Sao and Satae.
Hull KR: Albert Vete
When Hull KR were in their best form easily beating the likes of Leeds and vanquishing a very good Huddersfield side, the base of their victory was built on a hard-working forward pack. The two Georges King and Lawler were outstanding but so were props Korbin Sims and Albert Vete. The duo dovetailed perfectly and shared the work load. Since Vete’s injury, Sims has been under more pressure and the Rovers pack has been less potent.
Leeds: Rob Lui
Some have been critical of Lui at Leeds but in truth he’s one of Leeds’ most underrated yet most important players. His partnership with Luke Gale may not excite many but it offers balance and takes the pressure of Gale. Leeds have had plenty of injuries this season but none have hit as hard as Lui’s. Until their blowout win over Castleford, Leeds had been struggling for points. They scored just eight tries in five league games at one stage this season. Meanwhile, their right edge has lacked direction in both defence and attack. Had he been fit at the start of the season, Leeds could very well be deeper into the play-off battle than they currently are.
Leigh: Adam Sidlow
So often this season, Leigh have fielded strange looking interchange benches. We’ve seen halves, centres, wingers and hookers feature on the Leigh bench. Very rarely do props find their way onto the Centurions bench largely down to injury. Leigh have gone without size on the bench so far this season, and Sidlow would most definitely have changed that.
Salford: Dan Sarginson
In their victory over Huddersfield on Friday, Sarginson should’ve been sent off and his former coach Ian Watson bemoaned the mistake after the game suggesting that Sarginson was one of the best players on the field. He even said that the failure to send him off played its part in Salford’s win. That tells you everything you need to know really. He’s a class player and one capable of improving any side and Salford haven’t looked the same without him.
St Helens: James Bentley
I could’ve quite easily picked Matty Lees for this one, but the St Helens props have lessened the blow of his injury. It could also be said that the back-rowers have ameliorated the damage of Bentley’s leg break. However, despite the quality of Joel Thompson and others, they’ve lacked the energy of Bentley and the extra bite he offers the St Helens pack. Look at the reaction of St Helens fans to his impending departure to Leeds. That tells you how much he’ll be missed next season and whilst on the side lines.
Wakefield: Tom Johnstone
Who wouldn’t miss Tom Johnstone. His ability to score impossible tries, blitz down the wing and even nail the basics of the wing role make him a star player for Wakefield. Unfortunately, he’s never had much luck with injuries and that has again been the case this season.
Warrington: Greg Inglis
This one was a tough one to decide upon. The Wolves haven’t suffered from many injuries this season. Jason Clark’s recent absence has been impactful but when you bring a star like Greg Inglis out of retirement you want him to be fit. His ability to cover fullback and centre is an important asset that cannot be overlooked as is his ability to win a game in a single play.
Wigan: Oliver Gildart
Wigan’s backs haven’t looked normal all year. Again and again second-rowers Willie Isa and Liam Farrell have had to fill in at centre whilst 19-year-old Umyla Hanley has been tasked with playing on the wing a lot more than Adrian Lam probably planned. Thus, the Warriors have missed Gildart – as well as others – because of the patched-up backline they’ve been forced to play in his absence. That said, Gildart’s quality means almost any team in the world would miss him. There’s a reason Wests Tigers have acquired his services for next season.