INJURED TALISMAN Craig Huby has refused to rule himself out of a place in Castleford Tigers’ Tetley’s Challenge Cup final side.
Tigers will take on Leeds Rhinos at Wembley on Saturday, just 13 days after Huby suffered a dislocated elbow in the semi-final victory over Widnes Vikings.
Huby needed hospital treatment after medics at the ground were unable to slot the dislocation back into place and he is now facing a race against time to prove his fitness ahead of what would be the biggest game of his career.
The 28-year-old – who is set to join Huddersfield Giants next season – is Tigers’ longest-serving player and has been in outstanding form in the front-row this season.
Missing the final would be a huge blow to him personally, as well as the team and assessing the injury as the countdown to Saturday’s showpiece begins, Huby said: “It’s not too bad, it’s improving but we’ll see ...
“I saw the specialist on Thursday and he had a look, I had another x-ray to see just what happened and now, obviously, it’s up to us, so we’ll just see how it is.
“I need to get picked – if available – and then it’s down to if the pain’s right, if there’s no pain there.”
Players often take risks to make a Cup final appearance, but Huby insisted he will only put himself forward if he feels confident he’s up to the job.
He said: “I’ll know myself. If it’s not right I’m not going to do it as it’s not fair to the boys and someone else losing out on a spot.
“It’s a big occasion, but, if I’m not right, I’m not right and there’s nothing I can do.
“It’s just an unfortunate thing. We’re trying hard and doing everything we can at the minute so we’ll see how it is.”
Huby is refusing to feel sorry for himself, despite the possibility of missing Tigers’ biggest match for 24 years.
“Straight away I was obviously disappointed, asking questions ‘Why me – why’s it happened to me?’,” he said of his feelings when the injury occurred.
“But it’s just one of those things. It’s a tough game and it happens.
“It took a while to get it back in. They couldn’t do it at the ground so I ended up going to hospital, which I’ve been told is a good thing, if you can’t get it straight back in.
“Once I got to hospital and got some more drugs in and muscle relaxers it went in pretty easy and felt pretty good straight away.
“Movement wise, I’ve got a lot back. I’ve done (injured) fingers and things, but never an elbow so it’s a new one, but just unfortunate.”
The injury was especially disappointing for a player who was sidelined for Tigers’ previous Challenge Cup semi-final, against Leeds three years ago.
“That’s the thing that first came into my mind,” he admitted. “I missed out on that and then 15 minutes into this one disaster strikes again, but it’s a tough game and I’m just happy the boys got the win and chance to top off a great season with an appearance at Wembley.”