JASON GOLDEN'S career was back in doubt today after his shoulder again gave way on his latest comeback from injury.
York City Knights beat London Skolars 36-16 at Huntington Stadium to go back to joint-top of Championship One, but the victory - a largely workmanlike performance against a big Skolars pack - was marred as the popular second-row exited the action ten minutes after coming on as substitute.
The 28-year-old former Wakefield and London Broncos player - who had a third major operation on his right shoulder last year but had already dislocated the same joint twice this season - was in obvious agony as he left the fray, and, although the shoulder "popped back in", he will have to undergo yet more tests and rehab.
Head coach Gary Thornton had said in the build-up that Golden, having been sidelined for month since his latest dislocation, had come through a strenuous fitness test in training, but fears lingered that his problems would not be over.
"I heard it go back in and it was nice not," said Thornton of Golden's shoulder as the player received treatment on the sideline.
"I don't know what we're going to do. We'll have to have a sit down and think about this one. It's not fair on the lad (to go through such pain). He really does put his body on the line. It's doesn't look good at the moment.
"I hope it's not the end of the line for Jason, I really do. He's a fantastic lad and he's great around the younger blokes. I hope he can recover from it."
Aside from Golden's latest blow, Thornton was satisfied with the three-point haul, though he reckoned much more was to come from his team, having revealed they were trying out new attacking structures against the Skolars.
"We're not the finished article by a long way but if we can keep getting wins, knocking them off one by one, I'm sure we will get better," he said.
"We've got the win we wanted, though it wasn't the best performance. We lacked a bit of cohesion at times and put some plays on that didn't come off. The execution could have been better.
"We've changed a few things around this week and it showed as we need a bit more work on the practice field. We're trying to play a bit more football in the opposition 20, we're trying to shuffle a few things up, and I think with a bit more time on the training field we will get better."
Thornton had particular praise for his forwards, who had come up against a much bigger and heavier pack.
"They're all really tired blokes - they did a lot of work in the middle," he said. "That's London's game plan - to play up the middle where they have massive forwards - and they're a handful, but we kept with them.
"We gave away a couple of soft penalties which marched them up the field and they scored two tries from that, but, apart from that and a soft (defensive) effort from our point of view in the second half, I can't recall them causing us much of a threat. I thought we managed them pretty well."
Thornton was also pleased with Adam Dent's debut - which the 20-year-old capped with a try.
"We looked quite lively on the fringes and both Dent brothers were good on the wings," said the Knights chief.
"Adam did well. He didn't do anything wrong - he took one awkward ball to relieve pressure very well - and he got that try. I'm sure he will have more games in the first team to come."