TWO-TRY Castleford Tigers winger Kieran Gill admits his “state of mind” was tested during his year-long wait between Super League games.
He made his first appearance for his hometown club in 12 months when scoring a brace in Friday’s much-needed 42-14 victory at Hull KR.
Gill ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament after scoring on his debut for Castleford against St Helens last year.
The 22-year-old has had to battle his way back not only from that serious injury but also through some stiff competition for wide spots to now get this chance.
“It was awesome being out there and it’s been a real long way to get to this point,” he explained. “I did my ACL almost a year ago to the day. It was the fourth of June when I did that.
“It’s been a long road to a comeback and I’m glad to have got out there with the boys again and put a really good performance in.”
When you’re not playing it tests your state of mind and you go through some stages when you don’t know if you are going to come through.Kieran Gill
Gill played his first game back after that knee reconstruction on loan at League 1 Oldham when they faced Keighley Cougars in mid-April, going on to score two tries in three appearances.
The player, who hails from the Redhill area of Castleford and came through the club’s academy, conceded he did face some dark times during his spell on the sidelines.
“A lot of boys will tell you that it’s a high and low kind of sport,” he said. “When you’re not playing it tests your state of mind and you go through some stages when you don’t know if you are going to come through.
“You have got to make that commitment – and your family know that you want to make that commitment – that you want to pull through and be better and stronger than ever.”
Gill got a chance due to an injury to Greg Minikin and with prolific winger Greg Eden making his own return from injury at full-back.
Eden fared well in the No1 role so will Gill be pushing him to try and stay there?
He answered: “I wish! He’s A great player is Greg and a great mate.
“Whatever happens, happens but I want my name on the team sheet so I’ll do whatever I can to do so.
“It was great to score but I can’t say it was any individual effort at all.
“It was great team work by the boys setting me up – we’re a great team – and I appreciate everything they do for me.”
Gill’s exploits against Hull KR occurred on the same day as his contract was extended until the end of 2019, reward for the promise he has already shown and dedication in getting back to fitness.
“Yes, a new deal for me and Tuoyo (Egodo) together, which is great,” he said, referencing one of the club’s other young wingers whose future was also confirmed on Friday.
“We’re really good mates as well. I’m glad we’re knuckling down together and hopefully there’ll be many more (appearances) to come now.”
Gill must wait and see if he has retained his place for Friday’s trip to Warrington Wolves who Castleford can move level with in third if they win.
“It’ll be a tough game,” he said, Warrington having beaten Wigan Warriors 23-0 with an epic display in Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final.
“They’re on a great run. They’ll be a tough team to come up against but we’re a great side and when we’re on form we can take anyone as shown last year.
“We want to do the same again this time.”