Castleford Tigers are reeling from the news captain Michael Shenton will be sidelined for most - and possibly all - of the season.
Coach Daryl Powell said tests have confirmed Shenton suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (acl) injury during Tigers’ opening game of the Super League season at Hull KR two days ago.
Rovers’ John Boudebza has been charged with making Grade B dangerous contact, which could lead to a ban of one to two games.
“He has been a pretty big figure for us as a player and a leader since I have been at the club,” Powell said.
“It is a blow, no doubt about that. We now need a response from a few people within the group.
“Our leadership is going to need to develop across a few players. These things happen, but it is pretty tough.”
Powell described the tackle which allegedly caused the injury as a “really poor one”.
He added: “It’s really disappointing the type of tackles that can do that to people are still in the game.
“There’s a job needs to be done in terms of dealing with that, but that is no consolation to Shenny or to us.”
Asked if Shenton will play again this year, Powell said: “I don’t know. He will have to have an operation in a couple of weeks’ time and we’ll take it from there.
“It is a long road to recovery, but he will get the best medical care and he is a quick healer.
“With this type of injury you see how it develops over time after the operation.”