A box ticked: Joe Cator proud to make his return after 17 months out

Joe Cator Hull FC SWpix

Hull forward Joe Cator said he was proud to make his return to the field in a pre-season win at Sheffield after spending almost a year and a half on the sidelines.  

The 24-year-old helped the Black and Whites edge past Championship side Sheffield 22-20 in a pre-season friendly at the Olympic Legacy Park.

Cator came through the game unscathed following almost a year and a half out. He ruptured his Achilles twice.

The loose forward believes he has become stronger physically and mentally for the traumatic experience.

Cator said: “It’s 17 months since I walked off that pitch fit and injury-free, so that was a real box-tick for me today.

“It’s been a long 17 months with 40 minutes in the middle of that. I want to play it down, but in the back of my mind I’m proud of myself. It’s been a long time and it did mean a lot to me to get on the field.

“I think if you go through anything like that it makes you a better person; and mentally it does make me stronger. If I can get through that and get back to playing, it gives me a lot of confidence.”

Tony Smith happy to see Joe Cator pull through fine

Smith praised the highly-rated forward, appearing from the bench just before the half-time break.

Smith said: “Joe handled it really well and it was great to see him come through it unscathed.

“He is on top of things and he has been confident for a while, but it is another thing going out on the pitch and doing it all again.”

Smith marked the start of his tenure as Hull head coach with a hard-fought win at Sheffield. He gave new Australian recruits Tex Hoy and Jake Clifford a chance to impress.

Smith added: “We’re going in a bit under-cooked. I know some teams started before us and have probably done some harder stuff than us.

“I’m just wary of being over-cooked. You can put the cake back in the oven if it isn’t quite cooked, and we’re probably not cooked enough yet, but we’ve still got a month to go.”

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