Castleford’s Super League title hopes have been hit with the news that half-back Luke Gale has had appendix surgery.
Gale, 29, has been a key part of the Tigers team that has swept all before them on their way to the League Leaders Shield.
He began experiencing pain on Monday evening and was operated on yesterday, and is expected to miss the rest of the season, with doubts over his participation in the World Cup too.
Gale said: “I’m absolutely gutted to be facing surgery at this point in the season.
“This is a freak situation that could happen to anyone at any time and it’s just really unfortunate for me that it has happened to me now at such a crucial point in the season.
“Rest assured I’ll be doing all I can to aid my recovery with an aim to getting back on the pitch as soon as possible.
“In the meantime I’ll be 100% behind my teammates in our quest for the Grand Final to top off what has already been a fantastic year.”
The former Leeds and Bradford half has scored 338 points in 28 appearances this season, and also turned out for England in the mid-season test against Samoa.