NATHAN FREER’S 100th career game ended with him having to go to hospital after he was left groggy by a thumping hit in York City Knights' 22-14 victory over Hemel Stags.
The prop had to be helped off the Huntington Stadium pitch and was staggering and dazed after being injured in a collision when Stags hooker Evan Simons went over for a try eight minutes into the second half.
Knights head coach Gary Thornton said the visit was a “check up” and added: “I spoke to his dad and he wasn’t great. The doctor said it wouldn’t be safe to put him back on the field of play and so he has gone to hospital just for a check up, really.
“He was a bit concussed and a bit dazed and, hopefully, it is not too bad and he will be okay. With head injuries, you can’t be too careful. You have got to get them to hospital and get them checked out.”
Thornton was a frustrated man at the final whistle after the Knights laboured to victory – spurning a host of scoring opportunities in both halves because of poor handling and execution.
They trailed 6-0 in the first half and 14-10 with 12 minutes to go before finally raising themselves to clinch the points and the Knights chief added: “We made hard work of it again, didn’t we? Yet again we created so many opportunities and then bombed them on the last play. I was getting pretty frustrated myself in that first half.
“We managed to limit them to coming out of their own exit area for most of the game and they only got a couple of chances and took them.
“Every time we got anywhere near their try line we couldn’t seem to convert. The execution was poor.
“We base our game on trying to play really quickly and teams are trying to slow us down and spoil it. Referees have been a little bit inconsistent and we just couldn’t get any rhythm. That was the problem.
“We got in a rhythm part way through the second half when we scored a couple of tries on the back of that and we were allowed to play fast and get some kicks away.
“It’s very stop start and it was a mirror of last week for me. We are going to have to come up with some sort of plan to get round that. That’s going to be the order of the day for most games this year.
“I thought they were a very spirited team. They just don’t go away and that’s the thing I keep saying to my lads. In this division, you can’t get away from them because they keep coming and coming.
“We had to go right until the end and, luckily, we took our opportunities when they counted at the death to win the game.”
Thornton said that with games against Championship One big guns Oldham and Hunslet coming up, his side would have to improve.
“It will be a good measure of where we are,” he explained. “We’ve limped through these last two games in my opinion. We have stumbled over the finish line.
“We could have been a lot better and a lot more clinical and the scoreline would have been a lot bigger than it was. That said, we still know we have got lots to work on and lots to improve on.
“It’s not a bad thing to have because it means everyone is switched on in training and trying to work hard and improve things. Oldham will be a tough test.
“They are a massive team. They will take us on down the middle and we will have to be at our best next week to beat them.”