Change the record over injuries

Injuries are part and parcel of the game of rugby league and the sooner some people realise that the better.

Rugby league is the toughest professional team sport in the world but do we need to be making such a big deal of teams missing players?

To succeed in rugby league you need a big squad it is as simple as that and if you do not have a big squad whether that is with veteran players or a strong youth policy then you don’t deserve to be challenging for honours.

Injuries are a part of our sport whether you like them or not, but like everything in life you need to get on and deal with the cards you are handed and not use them as excuse.

Now don’t get me wrong, my problem is not with any coaches or players because to my knowledge none of them have come out and complained about injury woes they have just got on with it.

My problem is with the commentators on Sky Sports – I may be in the minority or quite possibly the majority who is sick and tired of Eddie and Stevo telling us how many injuries Leeds have this week, even if they are not a televised side, or how St Helens, Warrington and Wigan have a lot of problems.

Every team has an injury crisis throughout the season but let’s not make it out to be something sinister.

Last weekend the men from Sky kept going on about how Leeds were missing 10 players through injury. But come kick-off on Sunday, even with the injuries, they still had the likes of Hardaker, Burrow, Moon, Peacock, Ablett, Jones-Bishop and Watkins in the line-up.

Yes they have players out like McGuire, Sinfield, Jones-Buchanan, Vickery and Leuluai but they were hardly fielding a weak side. Mention the injuries by all means now and then, but to say teams are in a crisis because a handful of players are out is pretty annoying and a bit disrespectful to the team they are playing. Imagine being told you lost to a weak side that still had half a dozen internationals in their team.

The coaches and players don’t seem to have a problem with it because they know they young players being asked to step up are more than capable of doing the job.

It’s not a pop at Leeds, because the commentators have also mentioned other team’s injuries, but injuries have been around for years and will continue to happen and a team never loses a big game because of the players on the sideines. That is just a poor excuse.

London, Salford, Widnes and Castleford have all had injury problems this season but for some reason they don’t make the headlines like other clubs.

We have a fantastic product in rugby league and there are so many better ways to promote a game rather than use injuries as a talking point. If a team like Widnes beats Leeds then we should highlight the fact that Widnes beat Leeds rather than Widnes beat a weak Leeds side – you can only play what is out in front of you.

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