Marcus St Hilaire

Date published: Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ROUGHYEDS received a massive pick-me-up today, in the wake of their 60-4 mauling by Hunslet Hawks, with the news that centre Marcus St Hilaire could be back in action again soon.

The 33-year-old former Super League star hurt his back against Gateshead Thunder at Sedgley Park on April 24 and there were fears at one stage that, at best, he might be out for the rest of the season.

“Injuries to back or spine are always worrying when you don’t know their full extent, but happily we have now got the results of a scan and the problem is nothing too serious,” said club chairman Chris Hamilton.

Marcus St Hilaire

Marcus has suffered a tissue injury which, put in simple terms, has been described to us as ‘similar to a dead leg, but in the back’. The news will come as a huge relief to the player, just as it did to the club.

“Now we know what it is, the club’s medical staff can start to treat the injury accordingly, but it is impossible to say when Marcus will be back in action. That will depend on how the injury responds to treatment.”

The former Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants centre has been badly missed in the last few games, as have stand-off Neil Roden and loose-forward Valu Bentley.

Bentley suffered a recurrence of an early-season collar bone injury at South Wales Scorpions on April 11, but it isn’t yet known how far he is away from making a comeback.

Roden broke a toe at Doncaster three weeks ago and he has missed the three games since, all of them at Whitebank.

He might have an outside chance of starting his comeback at Workington on Sunday, but that won’t be known until later in the week.

Roughyeds, meanwhile, were hugely encouraged once again by the attendance of 1,004 at the Whitebank Stadium last Sunday for the game against Hunslet Hawks, who stunned Tony Benson’s men by running in 11 tries in a 60-4 victory.

It was more than double the gate at each of the other four Championship 1 games and it was also bigger than the crowd at the Championship game between Whitehaven and Leigh in Cumbria, which was given on the RFL’s official website as 912.

The first three games at Whitebank have pulled in the Roughyeds’ three best attendances all season — 1,110 v York City Knights, 737 v London Skolars and 1,004 v Hunslet Hawks.

In addition, a reserve team game against Featherstone Rovers last Wednesday night attracted nearly 300 fans to make it the best-attended Oldham second-team game for a long time.

“We are very pleased at the attendances we are getting at Whitebank,” said Chris, “and on behalf of the club I would like to thank everyone for getting behind us in our ongoing adventure at our new ground.”

As part of the club’s plan to embrace fans in everything that goes on at Whitebank, official post-match presentations and speeches take place in public in the concert room — the first time for years that Roughyeds have had the facility to involve supporters like that.

The Reserves play at Whitebank again on the next three Saturdays against York (May 29), Hunslet (June 5) and Sheffield Eagles (June 12), all kicking off at 3.00pm.

The next first-team game there is a top-three clash against Blackpool Panthers a week on Sunday, June 6.