Warrington back-rower Jack Hughes says he’s had to think about the day-to-day management of his body for the first time in his career after an injury-hit second half of the campaign.
Hughes, 27, is currently on the Great Britain tour Down Under, but hasn’t been selected in the squad for either of the first two tests.
He pulled out of England’s World Cup 9s squad, as he continues to manage groin and hip injuries, and he plans to have surgery following the international period.
The former Wigan forward suffered a ruptured testicle in the defeat to Catalans earlier this season, and wore a cricket box to enable him to return to action, starring in the Challenge Cup final win over St Helens.
Speaking prior to the tour, he said: “Towards the back end of the year, I struggled with my groin and hips and so it came down to managing my load a bit, I wasn’t training all week, I was missing a couple of sessions to be right for the games.
“I thought after a couple of weeks rest I might be able to go on both competitions, but after training with the performance squads I just thought the load of the 9s over two days would be too much, and I wanted to give myself the best chance for the GB tour.
“I’ve been having treatment, nothing major at the moment, it’s just been not overdoing it, and when I need to train, I need to train hard.
“The plan down the line is that I’ll need a little bit of surgery and quite a bit of rest on the back of it, let all the inflammation settle down around my pelvis and then have a lot of rehab work to strengthen back up, and get back from tour and hopefully I’ll be right come the start of next season.
“Warrington have been very supportive. It’s something that requires a bit of managing and being smart and not doing too much after training.
“This is actually the first time in my career I’ve really had to think about not overdoing it. I’ve always been – touch wood – pretty lucky with injuries.
“I’m 27, I’ve never had to think about my day to day management of my body and drop out of sessions here and there just to keep my load down. I’m used to usually going 100% full throttle every day, so it’s been a bit of a shock to me.
“As you get older, you’ve got to be really smart. The game isn’t getting any easier, it’s getting harder, it’s a young mans game, and to keep yourself competing at that level, you’ve got to start managing yourself.”