NEWLY-CROWNED Super League Young Player of the Year Jake Trueman has revealed he did not even realise he had suffered the double-fracture that ended his season.
The gifted Castleford Tigers half-back was named the competition’s best rookie of 2018 at the Steve Prescott Man of Steel dinner in Manchester on Monday.
Trueman has been a revelation, featuring in 27 games for the West Yorkshire club before breaking his hand in their final Super 8s contest at St Helens.
That ruled the 19-year-old out of Castleford’s semi-final at Wigan Warriors, a game they duly lost 14-0 to miss out on this weekend’s Grand Final.
Speaking for the first time about the cruel blow, Trueman was asked if he knew immediately that he would miss that pivotal fixture.
He told The Yorkshire Post: “We didn’t really know, to be honest.
“I did it in the game on the Friday and I actually didn’t think it was that bad as it didn’t hurt much at all.
“I just pointed it out to the physio and he told me I had to come off. It wasn’t actually that painful.
“But I came off and the doctor then sent me for an x-ray. I didn’t think that it was really needed as it wasn’t really painful.
“But we found out I’d broken my hand. On Monday morning I got a text from the doctor saying I’d broken my wrist as well.
“We went to see a specialist and he said if I’d just broken my hand I’d have probably been fine to play (against Wigan).
“They’d have taped it up, jabbed it up and it’d have been fine. But what I’d done to my wrist was a little bit more serious so that kept me out which was a bit annoying as I didn’t even know about it.”
Trueman, who joined Castleford from home-town Bradford Bulls when they hit financial problems at the start of last year, admitted: “It was gutting.
“You spend all year playing for those big games and it couldn’t have come at a worst time – a semi-final, sudden-death.
“When the season comes down to those last few weeks and to be out and having to watch on the sidelines it was really tough.”
Furthermore, he was fully expected to be a major player on England Knights’ tour of Papua New Guinea which starts later this month after a week-long training camp in Brisbane but that once-in-a-lifetime trip is now gone, too.
“At first I didn’t really think about that,” insisted Trueman.
“I was just so gutted about missing the semi-final. But when we got knocked out of that it sort of dawned on me that was it.
“We played Friday and on Monday morning I realised that was me done for the year. It dawned on me, no PNG and no more games. It was really tough to take.
“I’ve eight weeks to go wearing this pot but they say then that’s it. It should be absolutely fine after that and I’ll be okay for pre-season.”
On being named Super League’s Young Player of the Year, he added: “It feels great.
“It’s always nice to pick up awards and I have to put a lot of that down to my team-mates this year and the coaches.
“We’ve got three former international half-backs in Daryl Powell, Danny Orr and Ryan Sheridan and they’ve all been great for me.”
He accepted the award from Castleford team-mate Luke Gale, the England scrum-half who won Man of Steel last year and whose long-term absence this season due to a knee injury allowed Trueman to make his mark.
The teenager maintained he did not contemplate beating Leeds Rhinos’ Jack Walker and St Helens’ Matty Lees to the award.
“I didn’t really think about it too much whether I’d win,” he said, having joined Joe Westerman (2008) and Daryl Clark (2014) as Castleford players to claim it.
“I just put it to the back of my mind. There’s two great players there in Matty Lees and Jack Walker.
“I actually came over with Jack Walker in the car tonight…!
“It’s always nice but I have to thank my team-mates.
“It was hard losing that semi like we did but, hopefully, we can get back to one again next year and I can help us go that step further.”
At the awards, Warrington were named club of the year for not only reaching both the Grand Final and the Challenge Cup final but for their off-field work which includes a leading role in the formation of Physical Disability Rugby League.