Castleford Tigers star Gareth O'Brien in doubt for Challenge Cup final after suffering knee injury during derby win over Wakefield Trinity
Castleford Tigers' Betfred Challenge Cup hero Gareth O'Brien is facing a race against time to be fit for next month's Wembley showpiece.
The half-back/full-back suffered a knee injury late in the first half of Wednesday’s 18-12 Super League win at Wakefield Trinity.
He was on crutches - and clearly upset - after the match and is now a doubt for the Betfred Challenge Cup final showdown with St Helens on Jul7 17.
Tigers coach Daryl Powell said initial indications were the injury is not season-ending.
“Gaz felt a little better after the game,” Powell reported.
“He was just so disappointed, I’m praying he’s okay and he can get out there as soon as possible.”
O’Brien’s injury is a blow for the player and club.
He has been in impressive form since joining Tigers from Toronto Wolfpack a year ago and kicked the golden point winning drop goal in this season’s Challenge Cup victories over Hull KR and Salford Red Devils.
“He has been in and out of the team consistently and picked up injuries a fair bit,” Powell conceded.
“He just can’t get a run going, he said to me he can’t stay on the field.
“We’ll wait and see how the hyper-extension settles down, I would think he needs a scan on it.”
Castleford’s other injury concern surrounds forward Jesse Sene-Lefao, who suffered a hamstring strain.
The victory at Wakefield ended Tigers’ run of four successive Super League defeats and Powell was pleased with an improved performance, particularly following the loss of O’Brien and Sene-Lefao.
“It was hard work, a tough game,” he reflected.
“You could see it was pretty attritional in terms of the heat - they are not used to it.
“We lost Gaz which forced a reshuffle and then Jesse came off, but the boys did well to win the game.”
Powell admitted: We’re not singing all dancing and we lacked fluency, but we were better defensively and we needed a solid effort there
“And we won, that’s the most important thing - we needed to get winning again.”
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