Brian McDermott hails Jon Wilkin for playing through pain barrier for Toronto

Drew Darbyshire

Toronto coach Brian McDermott has praised Jon Wilkin after he delayed knee surgery so he could play for the Wolfpack when they were down on troops.

The 36-year-old surprised his coach by turning up at Warrington with his boots last week and he played in the game despite having been ruled out for a month with a knee injury that requires surgery.

Toronto face Wilkin’s former club St Helens at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday, where Wilkin is again expected to play through the pain barrier.

McDermott said: “It’s a bizarre one and we’re very good in rugby league at playing these great little stories down.

“We don’t sing and dance about it enough because if you were in America or Canada and someone does what Jon Wilkin did what he did last week, it would make every news bulletin.

“He’s got some bones floating about in his knee and it’s been extremely painful since the start of the year, when he went over on his knee while we were training on a hard floor at the indoor arena at Man City.

“He pulled out of the Wigan game and we were expecting him to have the operation last week but it got cancelled and the swelling went down and he had less pain.

“I was spending some time before the Warrington game with David Argyle, who had flown in from Canada, and I looked down on the field and saw Wilko doing a warm-up on his own with the physio.

“It took a while for it to sink in what was going on and then I got a message from my staff saying ‘Wilko has turned up and he doesn’t think his knee is going to give way tonight so he’s putting his hand to play’.

“And he played very well as well, he’s a very effective player for us.”

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