Castleford Tigers dealt major blow with key man ruled out for the season

Drew Darbyshire
Sam Wood Castleford Tigers

Sam Wood in action for Castleford Tigers in 2024

Castleford Tigers will be without Sam Wood for the rest of the season after he picked up a long-term injury while making his Test debut for England. 

Wood has been the Tigers‘ standout performer this season, with his form in Super League being recognised by Shaun Wane, who handed Wood a first England call-up in last weekend’s mid-season international win over France.

However, Wood suffered a shoulder injury during that game and now needs a reconstruction, meaning he will undergo surgery and miss the rest of the 2024 campaign.

“Unfortunately he is done for the season, he needs a reconstruction on his shoulder. As great as the international recognition was for Sam, it’s not been great news for us,” Castleford coach Craig Lingard said.

“He is going to be booked in for an op on his shoulder and he will be done for the season unfortunately. It’s massive news, he’s probably been our most consistent player this season, or one of our most consistent players this season –  and he deservedly got that recognition playing for England on the back of the form he’d shown for us.

“Even in games when we weren’t performing too well, I thought Woody was one of the players who was always at the top of the tree. It was a real good boost for him to get that international cap and hopefully it’s the first of many. But for unfortunately for us it’s a blow to lose him for this week and the rest of the season.

“He seems in as good a spirit as he possibly can be. It’s one of them where it’s good news, bad news. If he’d carried on playing through and made it worse it could have been seven months, so the three-month it’s going to be is the best-case scenario. You’re trying to look at it with a glass half-full rather than glass half-empty type of situation.

“He should be back for pre-season. I know it’s not ideal but he’ll be ready for next season.”

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Castleford Tigers boss Craig Lingard provides full injury update ahead of trip to St Helens

Josh Hodson had been pencilled in to replace Wood but he also suffered an ankle injury in a reserves fixture last week – with Alex Mellor likely to fill in at centre on Friday night against St Helens. “It’s mix and make-do at the moment,” Lingard said.

Nixon Putt has a quad injury which will sideline him for several weeks, and Sam Hall (shoulder) is also set to miss the next three weeks. Meanwhile, Sylvester Namo has also suffered a jaw injury in training which will put him on the shelf for a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, versatile forward George Lawler made his return to action for the reserves last week, marking a remarkable comeback after suffering a small bleed on his brain back in April. He is set to feature for the first team against Saints on Friday night.

Lingard said there was no update as such on captain Paul McShane, who has been sidelined for several weeks with an arm injury.

“Macca has been out is about three or four weeks post-op,” Lingard said. “He’s got to go back and assess the infection in the bone to see what the damage is there. He is just waiting for the all-clear to start doing some of the weight-bearing exercises on that so he can start lifting weights in the gym.

“It’s an open ended one: we don’t know how bad that situation is going to be or how quickly that could resolve, it could be a case of he gets the all-clear next week to return to full training or within two or three weeks he could be back, or it could be season-ending, we don’t really know. We’re a bit sat on the fence, we don’t really know, so there’s no point us giving a timeframe on it until we fully know the extent of the damage that’s there.”

Lingard also provided an update on outside-back Will Tate, who has yet to play in 2024 after being sidelined with a serious ankle injury.

When asked if we could see him feature before the end of the season, Lingard replied: “We’re hoping so. We’ve been waiting on that a long time, it was a really serious injury that Will had got.

“He’s out on the field, he’s training, he’s probably around 75 per cent into training. He’s not done any full contact stuff just yet, we’re doing modified contact and controlled contact with him.

“With the seriousness of the injury that it was, it’s one of them that could go forward two or three steps or come back two or three steps depending on how his body reacts based on the length of time he’s been out. We’re certainly hoping that at some point this season he is going to be back and the likelihood is that he’ll play reserves or go out on loan or dual-reg for two or three games before he’ll be ready for any sort of Super League action.”

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