IT has been a wretched time in Super League already for injuries.
It seemed like most of the competition’s opening week was taken up with medical bulletins – and the war of words that escalated after one injury, in particular.
There have been varying degrees of severity but, strangely, as each gloomy diagnosis appeared, also a greater understanding of what truly constitutes a bad one.
When Danny McGuire crocked a knee in his first game as Leeds Rhinos’ new captain, you had to feel for the long-serving Loiner.
Stepping up to take over from the irreplaceable Kevin Sinfield was always going to be such a significant moment for whoever took over the armband but for McGuire – Leeds through and through – it meant that little bit more.
So, to see him sidelined for up to eight weeks in such a tricky transitional period for the Rhinos, and especially knowing he would miss the World Club Challenge and a fascinating duel with the world’s best player, Johnathan Thurston, it was a major blow.
But then Castleford Tigers’ own captain, Michael Shenton, suffered his own knee injury at Hull KR last Sunday and the prognosis was much worse.
He had suffered a rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament which, ordinarily, takes at least six months, often more, to heal.
Having spent three arduous months slogging it out in pre-season training, readying yourself to be the best you can be, to then be told your campaign is potentially over just a few minutes into the first game, must be such a difficult thing to deal with mentally.
Hopefully, we will see Shenton before the campaign is up and, like the rest of those curtailed early on, we wish the England centre a speedy and full recovery.
However, then came the bombshell that Huddersfield Giants’ Luke Robinson was calling time on his career due to his own injury issues.
That, again, puts things into perspective; at 31, one of Super League’s most courageous players given the countless head knocks the scrum-half/hooker has endured, Robinson was arguably at the peak of his powers.
A problematic hip, though, that threatened his long-term mobility, forced the decision that clearly rocked everyone.
Robinson’s acceleration, eye for a gap, not to mention his kicking skill and, of course, that huge heart of his, putting his diminutive frame on the line time after time, endeared him to many.
I always loved Nathan Brown’s comparison of him with Geoff Toovey, the legendary Manly No 7 who stood just 5ft 5in but was as tough as they came.
Robinson cited his proudest career moment as pulling on the England jersey but, for me, he should have played so many more times than he did for the national team.
People can talk about Rangi Chase all day long but I feel one of Steve McNamara’s most controversial decisions during his reign as national coach was overlooking Robinson in the manner he did.
Granted, he gave the Halifax-born player his debut in 2010 but, despite being England’s best player in that year’s Four Nations and facing the Exiles the following summer, he was then inexplicably jettisoned.
England’s loss was clearly Huddersfield’s gain, although, unfortunately, everyone will certainly miss his class, guile and beaming character now he has had to hang up those boots.