Embed from Getty Images
Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell has admitted that star playmaker Luke Gale is set to miss the start of the 2019 Super League campaign due to injury.
After having his appendix removed in September 2017, England international Gale made a startlingly quick return from surgery to prove the match-winner of the play-off semi-final against St Helens, the 30-year-old kicked the crucial drop goal to send the Tigers to their first Super League Grand Final. The Leeds academy graduate was unable to guide Cas to the title, however, and the 2018 season proved to be an injury-hit one for the nine-time England international. He made just fifteen appearances in all competitions for the Tigers and had to remove himself from availability for England’s post-season test series against New Zealand due to knee surgery.
That issue has proved troublesome for Gale and Powell conceded that he may have to plan for the team’s early season fixtures without his talismanic figure. “He’s had two operations on it, and while his leg is feeling a lot better and we’re confident with him going into the season, you need to make sure it’s right,” he told TotalRL, reasoning that his recovery was his priority. “Luke probably won’t get a pre-season game in – in fact, it looks like it may well be after the start of the season when he’s good to go. He’s a quick recoverer, but they’re important injuries to get absolutely right,” he added.
His absence means it is highly likely that Jake Trueman will get further opportunities to establish himself in the first-choice seventeen although he will have stern competition from both Jamie Ellis and Ben Roberts. The Tigers open their campaign on Friday 1st February at home against Catalans Dragons.