ENGLAND star Brett Ferres is ready to help Huddersfield Giants fight for Super League glory after surprisingly returning from a serious ankle injury in half the expected recovery time.
Admittedly, the second-row could do little to aid his side’s bid for Challenge Cup success after they were ruthlessly dumped out of the competition by holders Leeds Rhinos on Saturday.
But there was a personal positive. He was expected to be out for three months but returned inside just six weeks and successfully came through 80 minutes of action at Headingley.
Ferres will now quickly look to get Huddersfield back on track when they head to former club Castleford Tigers in Thursday’s televised league game.
“I felt really good,” he told The Yorkshire Post.
“My pride was dented by the result but, physically, I’m fine.
“Getting back so soon was out of the blue. The initial prognosis was four months but a specialist then said I didn’t need the op’ so that knocked a month off straight away down to 10 to 12 weeks.
“To be fair, I flew through it from there. There’s still damage to my ligaments – they are still not properly attached – but it’s manageable and I could get through 80 minutes of a big, fast game.
“I started training with the team last Tuesday, did a couple of sessions and got selected so I was chuffed.”
Ferres feared missing most of the season after being injured by an illegal “cannonball” tackle from Salford Red Devils’ Rangi Chase on Good Friday so the swift recovery was a blessing.
“I’ve had a few injuries in my career where I’ve been out for a couple of months and it’s not nice. It’s awful.
“You can go to some dark places and you have to try remain positive.
“Getting the (protective) boot off initially was one good step, then I started running – which was another – and once you do that you instantly start feeling better.”
The result, however, was a different matter. Fourth-placed Giants, having drawn with Leeds barely a fortnight earlier, rightly hoped to challenge their West Yorkshire rivals and reach the last eight only to be vanquished 48-16 in front of the BBC cameras.
“Leeds played very, very well,” admitted Ferres, as the Super League leaders ended a run of three games without a win.
“They had a gameplan which they stuck to, but we were poor. We looked soft in defence which is really unusual for us as we’ve been strong in that department this year.
“The biggest area we suffered in was attitude and our approach to the game. Leeds have quality and they showed us how to play. We have to learn from that.”
They do, though, have a quick chance to address those issues.
Ahead of the trip to Castleford, who will usurp them from fourth with a win but endured their own Challenge Cup woe at Hull FC, Ferres added: “People say it’s tough to back up (on a Thursday).
“But after a performance like that on Saturday we are chomping at the bit, raring to go againand ready to right wrongs.
“We need a result and want to go there to enjoy ourselves and have a good crack at Cas.
“They’ve had a similar sort of season to us with ups and downs. You can say that for a few teams around us in the table. They can come up with really good displays but struggle for consistency.”
Huddersfield, of course, can now solely focus on their challenge to reach a maiden Grand Final and, perhaps, lift the title for a first time in more than half a century.
“We have no choice,” smiled the 29-year-old. “The Challenge Cup is massive. It’s held in such high regard but when it’s gone, it’s gone and for us, now, it’s back to the league.
“We’ve seen what Leeds can do and that definitely shows where we need to be.”
Leeds Rhinos have been fined £2,000 for breaching the RFL’s operational rules.
The governing body handed down the punishment, half of which is suspended until the end of this season, following an investigation into the transfer of four players to Featherstone Rovers and two to Hunslet Hawks.
Featherstone’s Jordan Baldwinson, Thomas Minns, Mason Tonks and Alex Foster plus Hunslet duo James Duckworth and Luke Briscoe signed for their new club on a one-year deal, with a view to return to Rhinos in 2016.
The governing body are believed to have been asked to investigate whether Leeds were using the transfers as a way around the sport’s dual-registration and loan rules.