HARD-HITTING front-rower Nathan Massey hopes the worst spell of his career is now behind him.
Massey has suffered an injury-ravaged six months, but is looking to press on and have a strong finish to the year after returning as a substitute in Castleford Tigers’ 46-6 defeat at Wigan Warriors a week ago.
“It is great to be back,” Massey admitted. “It has been a pretty rough year, I have missed large chunks of the season and I had a torrid pre-season as well. I had a couple of groin operations in pre-season and then at the start of the year I came back and got injured against Dewsbury in a friendly.
“That put me out for another five weeks, then I came back from that and I had just started finding my feet and getting some good game time and then unfortunately against Sheffield I did a syndesmosis of my ankle.
“I had to have that repaired and that’s another six weeks, so that’s where I’ve been at this year. It is just one of those things that happen. I have had a couple of good years when I have been injury-free and hardly missed a game, then they’ve all come at once.
“Hopefully it is out of the way now and I can crack on, stay fit and get a good run in to the business end of the season.”
On the positive side, Massey’s disrupted start to the year means - if he avoids any more injuries - he will be fresh for the all-important final few months of the campaign - which will include a Challenge Cup semi-final and Super League play-offs.
“All the boys have played a fair amount of games and I am coming in and my body’s pretty fresh,” he said. “I have got a chance to get a good bit of work into me as well, after I missed a lot of pre-season, so in a way it has been good for me, but unbelievably frustrating as well.
“I am happy to see the boys going well and putting into practice what we’ve been doing in training and putting in good performances, but it has been a bit worrying thinking where I am going to fit in. Hopefully, I will get the chance and perform well.”
Garreth Carvell’s arrival on long-term loan from Hull will add to what Massey says is “massive” competition for places in Tigers’ pack. “It just drives everyone to strive to be a bit better,” he said. “Gaz is a great signing for us, he is a big-game player and he has a vast amount of experience in big games, so he is only going to help me and the other boys as well.”
Massey is set to play the second game of his comeback on Sunday, when Tigers visit St Helens. Of last week’s setback, he conceded: “We were pretty disappointed with ourselves. We let ourselves down, but we had a meeting and a chat about it and we’ve reacted really well this week. We’ve had a good week’s training and put a lot of work in. Everybody’s been really positive and we are looking to bounce back.”