Featherstone star suffers nasty back injury

James Gordon
Chris Hankinson

Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com

Featherstone centre Chris Hankinson is facing a spell on the sidelines with a back injury.

Hankinson, 29, has suffered a stress fracture in his spine and is expected to be out for at least eight weeks.

The former Wigan and London Broncos man has made two appearances for Featherstone since joining from Toulouse in the off-season.

He scored a brace of tries in the 46-22 win over Halifax, adding seven goals to the further seven he scored in the 50-0 opening day win at Keighley.

Featherstone’s wealth of options means Hankinson’s absence may not be felt as hard as it would be by other clubs.

For the win against Whitehaven, they lined up with ex-NRL centre Joey Leilua and the prolific Craig Hall.

Josh Hardcastle then came in for Hall for the win against Newcastle, retaining his place for the visit of Bradford.

Prolific point scorer

Toulouse coach Sylvain Houles spoke highly of Hankinson, who spent last season in Super League with the French club.

After their relegation and relative cost-cutting, Hankinson opted to make the move to promotion-chasing Featherstone.

On his arrival, coach Sean Long said: “I’m really pleased to welcome Chris to the club. I’m confident that he has the attributes needed to strengthen our drive for Super League promotion in 2023.

“I am very grateful to Mark (Campbell, chairman) and the club for the backing they’re giving me in the transfer market. I’m excited to see the reaction from the fans to Chris’s arrival.”

Featherstone have enjoyed a perfect start to the season ahead of their Monday night clash against Bradford, who inflicted Toulouse’s first defeat of the season last week.

Hankinson is no stranger to painful injuries, having suffered a serious eye injury early in his career.

In only his second appearance for Wigan, Hankinson clashed heads with team-mate Thomas Leuluai and later required surgery to repair a detached retina.