Shannon Lacey: Leeds Rhinos women's star ruled out for whole of 2021
It is not only the men’s team at Leeds Rhinos who have been struck by bad luck with injuries this year.
A freak fitness problem and remarkable stroke of ill-fortune have ruled out one of the women’s side’s key players for the whole of their Betfred Super League title defence.
Loose-forward Shannon Lacey played in Rhinos’ 2018 and 2019 Challenge Cup wins, but missed the Grand Final two years ago through injury.
She recovered to tour Papua New Guinea with England that autumn, but has not played since.
Last season was cancelled because of Covid and revealing the sequence of events which has seen her sidelined for the whole of 2021, Lacey said problems with headaches and dizziness at the start of the year led to an appointment with an optician, who found swelling behind her eyes.
“They sent me to the hospital and found pressure on my brain,” Lacey said. “I had to have a lumbar puncture done and was in hospital a couple of days.
“That stopped my ability to train and everything in pre-season.”
Though still on medication, Lacey was eventually cleared to resume training, but had to pass a return to contact protocol.
“I did my running fitness test and on the same night, I went over on my knee at training,” she said.
“I’ve torn my meniscus so I am having surgery in a couple of weeks which rules me out for the rest of the season.”
Lacey, who works for Rhinos’ Foundation, is now aiming to be back on the field next year.
She is still training, but added: “I haven’t played since the last PNG Test match, which was in November, 2019, so it has been a while.
“It is frustrating, but I guess it’s just one of those things.
“There’s nothing much I can do about it at the minute.
“I just want to get back into it and start enjoying it and get back properly playing and training.”
The decision to postpone the World Cup, scheduled for this autumn, until 2022 means Lacey will be back in contention for an England place.
“It gives me a little bit more motivation as well now,” she said.