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Sam Orange determined to help York City Knights bounce back
FORGOTTEN man Sam Orange is already putting his year from hell behind him and is determined to help York City Knights bounce back from relegation.
Former York Acorn ARLC junior Orange, 20, who joined his home-town club last winter from Castleford Tigers, has sat out the entire campaign after undergoing a reconstruction of his right knee – having suffered a potentially career-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury.
He had an outside chance of returning to competitive action at the season’s end, be it for the first team or under-20s, but instead the focus turned to 2014 – and he reckons his intense rehab programme means he will return even fitter.
“It (the knee) is looking good now and I could’ve played in the last few games at a push but we decided not to and instead get ready for next year,” said the back-rower.
“It was a big injury so it might have been a risk to come back. It’s just six months now since the operation and, while it’s possible to play around now, the NHS say don’t play for nine months.
“However, I feel fitter and stronger now than I have ever done. I’ve been doing so much rehab, training twice a day for five months, pretty much since I could start cycling.
“I had an ACL reconstruction and I know that not too long ago this kind of injury was often career-ending.
“It’s been tough but I’m the type of player who will work his socks off – I will try to be stronger, fitter and faster than anyone else – and I’ve been the same in my rehab.
“I’m just looking forward to having a really good off-season and getting ready to do myself justice next year.”
As for 2013 and watching from the sidelines as the Knights were relegated from the Kingstone Press Championship, he said: “I’ve hated it.
“Watching your team beat Featherstone, who finished top – I so wanted to be part of that. The winning was almost as hard as the losing because I wanted to be part of it.
“But then it’s awful seeing your team get relegated. I’ve had no part of any of it and I could not help in any way, shape or form.
“We’ve lost six or seven games by four points or less and I would like to think that in a couple of them at least I might have made a difference between winning and losing.”
Orange’s long-term aim is to get back to Super League, having gone through the system at Wheldon Road, but regarding the short-term he added: “I just want to get back playing and to have a really good year for the Knights.”
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