Hull KR have suffered a fresh blow after Will Dagger was ruled out for up to six weeks with the quad injury picked up while on loan at Featherstone Rovers.
The loss of Dagger compounds KR’s issues at full-back after Adam Quinlan was told his season is over due to a troublesome shoulder problem.
Dagger was gaining much-needed match fitness at Featherstone only to strain a quad muscle in the warm-up ahead of last week’s game against Toulouse Olympique.
It is an untimely blow for the 22-year-old but Tony Smith insisted he still has a role to play this season.
“Will Dagger is going to be five or six weeks,” said the Rovers head coach.
“We’ve got a couple of options at full-back that we’re looking at. Would it have been easier and more logical for Dagger to come in? Absolutely.
“That’s the risk you run when you loan people out and try to get them into some match fitness. He may well have broken down had we have not sent him out on loan.
“He’ll be back at the back end of the year and will be useful for us. He’ll still get a shot for us.”
Joe Keyes – one of four other loan players recalled this week – sustained a head injury in his last outing for Bradford Bulls but Smith is confident the half-back will be available to face Leigh Centurions on Sunday.
“Joe will be fine,” said Smith.
“He needs to pass a concussion test tomorrow (Friday). Once he passes that he’ll be fine.”
Smith would not be drawn on who will line up at full-back at Leigh Sports Village, with Ben Crooks and Mikey Lewis among the options to replace Quinlan.
The Australian will undergo an operation on his shoulder next Wednesday after playing his last game for Rovers.
“That one is a bit gutting,” said Smith.
“He’s somebody I’ve admired, respected and liked. He’s playing some of his best footy at the back end of it, ironically. He’s a brave little fella, tough, skilful and a pleasure to work with.
“I love watching him when he’s at his best. We saw some of that on the weekend. When he’s in form he just glides and is so balanced and skilful.
“Unfortunately, it’s not until the back end of this that he’s been able to do that. But at least he’s given us some reminders of how good Adam has been.”
Smith must make another enforced change after losing chief playmaker Jordan Abdull to a fractured thumb sustained in the early stages of Monday's defeat to Catalans Dragons.
The injury does not require surgery and Abdull is doing all he can to return before the end of August.
“He’s in great form and we’ll miss him but it’s an opportunity for someone else to come in and get some great form too,” said Smith.
“In that respect, I’m happy. Also for Jordan, it gives him the chance to get on top of a few things he needs to work on. He will. He’ll come back even bigger, stronger and fitter.
“He reckons he’ll be back in three weeks and the physio says about four.”