THE last thing Leeds Rhinos’ Mitch Achurch remembers about last week’s game is waking up in an ambulance – but the Australian hopes to prove tonight he is worthy of a place at Wembley for his next outing.
The luckless forward was stretchered off with concussion against Wigan Warriors last Friday just minutes after coming on in his first match after more than two months out injured.
Achurch hopes to get the all-clear to resume at Hull FC this evening – his last chance to impress before coach Brian McDermott picks his side for the Challenge Cup final against Hull KR a week tomorrow.
Achurch caught John Bateman’s hip when trying to tackle the Wigan man last week and medical staff spent eight minutes treating him on the Headingley pitch.
Achurch, 27, admitted: “It was a bit scary, but it was just one of those things.
“It was just unfortunate; I must have got caught in the spot on my head that’s like a switch – I was just out.
“I don’t remember too much, just turning up at the game, having a word with Mac (McDermott) and all of a sudden I was in the ambulance.
“I have watched it back and it was just unlucky.”
It was the latest in a long list of injuries that have afflicted him since joining from Penrith Panthers at the end of 2012, the brief show against Wigan being a comeback from wrist surgery.
As the leaders prepare to try extend their advantage at the top tonight, Achurch conceded: “I have heard the words ‘unluckiest man in rugby league’ a few times.
“That is how I feel. It is really disappointing, as I feel like I have been training really well for the last 10 weeks, after my surgery.
“If anything, I knocked off a couple of weeks and came back early after surgery – so to only play three minutes and wake up in hospital was pretty frustrating.”
He had played 14 games before suffering that wrist problem and was playing some of his best football since moving to the UK but knows time is running out for that Wembley chance.
Achurch was not selected for the Challenge Cup final win over Castleford Tigers 12 months ago.
He conceded: “I won’t even be in the frame to be picked if I don’t play at Hull.
“They have been really cautious with me and are making sure I am all right, but if I get the head test out of the way and I get the all-clear, then it’s happy days.
“Then I have just got to go out there and try and prove my worth, so I can get that spot for Wembley.
“It (the injuries) is getting pretty frustrating now.
“It is frustrating being on the sideline, but it’s more frustrating knowing I still haven’t reached any potential that I can reach at Leeds.
“Any time I start putting a few good games together, something happens and it halts that progress. I am desperate to get on the field now.”