Casualty Ward: Leigh dealt major double blow, Matty Ashton absence explained & Willie Peters provides triple injury update

Josh McAllister

Keep up to date with the latest injury news in Casualty Ward, this week including updates at Leigh Leopards, Hull KR and Warrington Wolves.

Leigh dealt double blow

Leigh Leopards look set to be without key men John Asiata and Zak Hardaker ahead of their inaugural Super League play-off campaign.

Head coach Adrian Lam had already confirmed that the duo were a doubt to feature against Wigan in the final regular round, though captain Asiata was named in the provisional 21-man squad.

Initially believed to have suffered a minor strain to his hamstring, Sky Sports pitchside reporter Jenna Brooks said that Asiata’s injury was worse than first thought early on in the contest against the Warriors.

It would also appear that Hardaker’s season is over due to a broken hand. The 2015 Man of Steel winner has scored four tries in 27 appearances in his debut season at the Leigh Sports Village.

Frankie Halton also missed the tie, with Toby King passing his head injury assessment.

Hull KR triple injury update

Willie Peters has provided a triple injury update following their 56-12 win over Wakefield, via Hull Live.

Dean Hadley, Rhys Kennedy and Kane Linnett all missed the Round 27 victory that secured a fourth-placed finish and a home play-off tie with Leigh.

Hadley, 31, dropped out of the warm-up having been named in the starting 17 and was replaced by Yusuf Aydin. The forward suffered a calf injury with the club set to monitor the situation ahead of Friday night’s showdown.

Likewise, veteran back-rower Linnett 34, had a calf issue but is expected to return against the Leopards.

Australian prop forward Kennedy missed out due to minor illness.

“Rhys Kennedy wasn’t well, so he pulled out,” head coach Peters explained.

“Kane Linnett yesterday had a calf issue and had some scans. He’s OK, but he wasn’t right for tonight. Dean Hadley is the same with his calf. He ran out and then felt it in the warm-up.

“I will have to have a look at Dean. Hopefully, he will be OK for next week. He felt it straight away, and it got worse.”

James Batchelor passed his HIA during the fixture at Belle Vue.

Matty Ashton absence explained

Winger Matty Ashton missed Warrington’s 20-8 win over Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The 25-year-old, who has scored 18 tries in 24 Super League appearances this year, was replaced by Josh Thewlis, who himself returned from injury.

Interim boss Gary Chambers explained Ashton was a late drop-out due to illness on Friday, via Warrington Guardian, but is hopeful of having the England international back for the play-off tie with St Helens on Saturday.

Alex Walmsley makes stunning early return

In a huge boost for St Helens, destructive forward Alex Walmsley made an early return from injury to feature from the interchange bench against Hull at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Walmsley, who missed last year’s Grand Final victory over Leeds through injury, was expected to be out for the remainder of the campaign with an MCL injury suffered during the Challenge Cup semi-final clash with Leigh.

But the 33-year-old has returned ahead of the play-offs, having started in the first three Grand Final triumphs during the historic four-peat.

Head coach Paul Wellens said after the recent 30-12 victory: “I have to pay credit to him. When he got injured, we got the scan results and the season was done.

“I can’t tell you how hard he’s worked in the last eight or nine weeks with the mindset of getting back for potentially the Grand Final should we get there.”

Will Hopoate and Konrad Hurrell also made their returns from respective injuries against the Black & Whites.

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