Defeat not injury is real ball-ache for stoic Wood
Forward ruptured his testicle in Grand Final but insists the pain of losing is much greater
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Tuesday 09 October 2012
Shedding blood for the cause is commonplace in sport; leaving body parts behind is another matter.
The Warrington prop Paul Wood could be excused for feeling incomplete following the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday. The substitute forward ruptured a testicle during the 26-18 defeat by Leeds and had it removed in hospital that night.
"It's not too bad," Wood insisted stoically yesterday when we spoke. "I've got another one."
Wood did the damage early in the second half. "I was just carrying the ball in and Kallum Watkins caught me accidentally with his knee," he said. "There was no intention on his part. In fact, I don't think he knows yet that he did it, because I haven't mentioned him. At the time, I just got up and played the ball. It wasn't until after then that I doubled up."
Wood soon realised that something was amiss. "I knew that, because the pain didn't subside," he said.
The Rugby League's chief medical officer, Chris Brookes, examined him and arranged for him to be transferred to the nearby Salford Hope Hospital. There it was confirmed that the testicle was ruptured and would need to be removed. Refusing to be downcast by the injury, Wood spent his time at the hospital busily tweeting in response to the flood of good wishes from rugby league followers.
His final message from the hospital read: "Just coming out the hospital to go home…. Seriously feel like I've left something."
Wood, a 30-year old father of two and an England international, was in heavy demand yesterday at his home in Wigan. "But it's a painful way of getting publicity," he said. "The pain is actually worse today, because yesterday I was full of painkillers."
Wood insisted the pain was nothing compared to losing the Grand Final. "We're all gutted," he said. "We put our balls on the line to try to win Super League, but we couldn't quite do it."
Wood's embarrassing and uncomfortable injury meant that he missed the traditional "Mad Monday" end-of-season celebrations yesterday.
He hopes, however, to take his place on his team-mates' four day "chill-out" trip to Majorca on Thursday and to be fit for the start of pre-season training next month. Ironically, his war wound comes at the end of a season where he overcame an injury jinx to play a full role in the Wolves' successful campaign, including playing in the side that beat Leeds in the Challenge Cup Final in August.
Although mercifully rare, ruptured testicles are not unknown in rugby league. Chris Flannery, who has just retired at St Helens, once played almost an entire match in that condition.
man of steel in tin
The Wigan full-back and recently elected Man of Steel, Sam Tomkins, has achieved the unique distinction of having a brand of soup named after him. Heinz BIG Soup has launched a limited edition Beef, Tomkins and Onion flavour, the proceeds from which are to go to Joining Jack, the charity set up by the former Wigan player Andy Johnson, whose son is suffering from an untreatable muscle-wasting disease.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Best memes and Tweets, including Lukas Podolski selfie with Angela Merkel
Germany 1 Argentina 0 player ratings
Shakira performs at World Cup closing ceremony at the Maracana
World Cup 2014 final: Vladimir Putin takes seat next to Sepp Blatter at the Maracana
World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi suffers humiliation of walking past World Cup trophy TWICE after being crowned player of the tournament with Golden Ball
- 1 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 2 Orange Is The New Black has not been cancelled – it was a hoax
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action