Castleford suffer huge injury blow to full-back Niall Evalds
Castleford coach Andy Last has revealed that full-back Niall Evalds may not play again this season after suffering a pectoral tear which requires surgery.
The 29-year-old sustained the injury in their defeat to Catalans at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle in Super League a fortnight ago, forcing the one-time England international from the field.
Evalds has been limited to just seven appearances so far this season, having damaged an ACL joint earlier in March which sidelined the full-back for six weeks.
Last has now confirmed the extent of Evalds’ injury, which could sideline him for the rest of the 2023 campaign.
Last said: “Niall unfortunately requires surgery on that pectoral tear. He’s going to miss the majority of the season, potentially the season for us so it’s not good news for Niall.
“It’s a huge blow. At the beginning of the year you look if we can get Niall Evalds, an England international, a very good player in Super League on the field at full-back, with the experience of (Jacob) Miller and (Gareth) Widdop alongside him with (Joe) Westerman at 13 and (Paul) McShane, you’ve got a really competitive spine but I think they’ve been on the field together once or twice in games, so we’ve had to do it tough in that position.
“The teams that tend to be at the top of the table have that continuity and consistency in those key positions.
“Unfortunately for us, we’re just doing it a bit tough and we’ve had some difficult selection issues in those key spine positions.
“Unfortunately for Niall, he’s played a small part of this season. We were expecting him to play significant role but unfortunately he has picked up a couple of nasty injuries and this one requires surgery.”
Last says the Tigers have a couple of options to fill the void left by Evalds at full-back, with Gareth Widdop, Jack Broadbent and Will Tate being able to play there.
Andy Last provides update on injured duo
The Castleford boss also provided the latest on winger Greg Eden and prop Albert Vete, who are currently sidelined with injuries.
Last said: “Greg is a couple of weeks away.
“He’s just coming back from some hamstring pain, so we’re doing a little bit of work on him. He’s got a bit of a hamstring/calf issue so we have to box clever with Greg.
“He is a high performance athlete so we need to make sure he’s 100% right before we consider him for selection. We’re hoping it will be a couple of weeks.
“Albert Vete is a calf (injury). History has obviously repeated itself from his time at Hull KR.
“He picked up a calf injury five or six weeks ago. We got him back to something like being okay, he did some running and then felt his calf tighten up again so we’ve had to go back to the drawing board.
“We’ve had him re-scanned, he had a bit of strain on his calf so we’ve got to box clever with Albert in terms of his load and running.”
Next up for Castleford is a clash with Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium on Friday night, 7:45pm kick-off.
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