Believe it or not, players in competition-proper matches face the same chance of suffering serious injury than players appearing in pre-season trial games.
Rugby league players are injured in pre-season trial matches because … drumroll … theirs is a high-contact collision sport: whatever label you put on the game.
Simply not having trials - because players get injured during them - would be ridiculous. It wouldn’t be fair on the players, who would have to perform in round one of the premiership without any match fitness whatsoever. It would also be unfair on the paying public. What’s that? $40 for a ticket to watch a bunch of people play who haven’t been practising? Sure thing …
Imagine buying expensive seats to an operatic or theatre performance for which the musicians or actors hadn’t prepared. Oh, I mean, we have practised … we just haven’t done any prep with the instruments.
People living in Sydney and Brisbane may be spoilt for choice for elite sport week in, week out, but for country-based fans, the humble footy trial often proves to be the only opportunity they’ll get to see their footy heroes close up.
North Hobart, the Sunshine Coast and Mackay were the beneficiaries of this year’s trials, and there’ll be many other regional centres/future expansion options explored as potential hosts for trials next year and beyond.
The world is growing increasingly paranoid about the mystical ability of trial matches to injure players.
A good story relating to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck surfaced over the weekend via the NRL.com website. The young Warriors fullback, a superstar on-the-rise, was spotted resting on the sidelines with an icepack over a knee, sparking fears he’d suffered another debilitating injury which would keep him out for the opening rounds of the 2017 competition – all this after he missed most of last season due to a horrendous ACL injury.
Turned out that everything was okay. He was more worried about his poor match fitness than anything else. Good thing he got some game time in that trial then …