IT’S an ill wind…. and a saving grace of the impact of the coronavirus on sport is that currently injured players could be fit to resume as and when the crisis is over and fixtures resume.
One such, potentially, is Hunslet’s elusive winger Ben Markland.
The youngster, who joined the Parksiders from Leeds Rhinos Academy late last year, has made a big impact at the South Leeds Stadium and showed his undoubted qualities by scoring the late opportunist try that helped the Betfred League 1 promotion hopefuls edge Championship outfit Batley Bulldogs in a pre-season friendly.
Hunslet built on other warm-up victories over Bradford Bulls and Leeds Rhinos by winning Coral Challenge Cup ties against Coventry Bears and, through a late flourish, North Wales Crusaders before launching their assault on the League 1 title with a half-century success at West Wales Raiders in which Markland dotted down.
North Wales presented a tough challenge at the South Leeds Stadium on the second Sunday in March but Hunslet overcame an indifferent start to prevail 29-6.
The game was marred, however, by an injury to Markland who went down, clearly in great discomfort, in an innocuous tackle.
He had dislocated his knee and the early prognosis was that he could be out for the rest of the campaign.
That could still be the case, although uncertainty over when fixtures will resume following the lockdown renders all that will follow unclear.
Markland said: “I’m feeling much better now and I’m able to get about. I’ll need an operation, but that’s understandably been put on hold because of the coronavirus.
“So everything’s up in the air a bit right now – as it is for everyone in the country – but, with a bit of luck, and from my own perspective, I’ll hopefully be able to return before the season’s over.
“One thing’s for sure, my injury has made me hungrier, if anything, and I’ll come back stronger.
“I’d been enjoying my first real taste of adult Rugby League, after having previously only really known Academy, Youth and Junior rugby, and I can’t wait to get back into action.
“I’m keen to reward Hunslet, too. The club’s been good to me and I want to repay Head Coach Gary Thornton and all the lads for their support.”