Wakefield are reeling from another serious blow with the revelation that Jamie Rooney's heart stopped during a recent knee operation. The stand-off's heart was restarted within 30 seconds, but he said: "I feel incredibly lucky to be here. I was told they had a real job resuscitating me."
Rooney now faces a series of cardiac tests to determine the cause of the drama. Provided he comes through those with a clean bill of health, he can then finish the surgery on his knee, but he expects to be out for two months.
His scare comes in the aftermath of his team-mate Adam Watene dying suddenly from a heart virus in October. Only this week, another Wildcat, Richard Moore, has been diagnosed with Crohn's disease and faces a long spell on the sidelines.
"We don't know what else can be thrown at us or what other adversity we could face," said the Wakefield coach, John Kear.
The latest shock came during preparations for tonight's Super League match at Leeds, but Kear said it will not distract his players. "They are caring people, so they will be affected by it, but they know they've got a job to do."
Kear has Ryan Atkins back after a shoulder injury, whilst the Rhinos have Ryan Bailey fit for the first time this season, as well as Danny Buderus making his debut.
Mark Calderwood makes his Hull debut tonight against Wigan, the club that let him go at the end of last season. Either Amos Roberts or Pat Richards will switch to full-back to cover for Richard Mathers' suspension.
St Helens' Francis Meli still has not got his new visa, and is likely to be replaced on the wing by 19-year-old Tom Armstrong against Warrington.Reuse content