Unlucky Achurch hoping injury history will not repeat itself

Leeds Rhinos' Mitch Achurch.

Leeds Rhinos' Mitch Achurch.

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LEEDS RHINOS forward Mitch Achurch is hoping to avoid a long stint on the sidelines following his latest injury woe.

Achurch suffered damage to his left knee and ankle in the 
20-12 defeat at Warrington Wolves four days ago – less than a year after a similar setback in almost identical circumstances.

“It was in the back of my mind before we went there – I thought ‘I don’t have good memories of this place’,” admitted Achurch, who sustained a dislocated kneecap and other wounds in Leeds’ league loss at Warrington last July.

“It is nearly the same injury – to the same leg, against the same team at the same ground. I don’t think it is as bad as it was last year, but when it happened I was worried it was going to be the same thing.”

Achurch is awaiting the result of a scan he had yesterday afternoon, but said: “I know myself it is not as bad as last time, because last time I heard the pop and the snap.

“It was a bit sore on Sunday, but it is slowly coming good.

“It is the knee and ankle and I think the ankle is a bit worse, but I am hoping a few weeks on the sidelines and I will be right.”

Achurch has been one of Rhinos’ form forwards over recent matches and he added: “This is another little hurdle I have got to jump.

“The biggest issue for me is how quickly you can become unfit once you have been playing decent minutes.

“It doesn’t take long to get rid of that, so I will have to do my best to limit how much fitness I lose and hopefully it’s only a couple of weeks on the sidelines and I will be back into it.

“When I first did it I thought ‘oh no, here we go again’, but the way it pulled up over the weekend I am confident it will only be a few weeks.

“The medical staff here have got the reputation that once somebody comes back from an injury they stay uninjured - they make sure you are really ready to go before you go on the pitch again.

“I am hoping they do the job for me again this time. I won’t know until the result of the scans come back, but I am pretty confident.”

The date of Rhinos’ next visit to Halliwell Jones Stadium is something Achurch admitted he will be looking for when the 2015 fixtures are published.

“I think next time we go there I will ask for a week off,” he said.

Meanwhile, the RFL are investigating after Rhinos full-back Zak Hardaker was accused of making offensive comments during the defeat at Warrington.

A statement from the governing body said: “An allegation that Zak Hardaker of Leeds Rhinos made homophobic comments during (last Friday’s) fixture has been referred to the RFL compliance department, which has begun a formal investigation.”

Rhinos second-row Carl Ablett is facing a Grade C charge of kicking Warrington centre Joel Monaghan in the 72nd minute of the same game.

Ablett could be banned for two to three matches if convicted. He has an option of submitting an early guilty plea, which would result in a two-game ban.

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