YORK City Knights fell to a 10th defeat of the 2021 season in the Betfred Championship as they were put to the sword 44-14 by Featherstone Rovers at the Millennium Stadium.

Here are five things that we learnt from the game.

1. Injuries badly hurt York once again

Although it may gripe with some York supporters, much of the talk this season surrounding the Knights has concerned injuries.

Given the number of players, particularly through the spine of the team, that have suffered with either injury or coronavirus, it should come as little surprise.

Even bearing in mind those problems, the number of injuries York sustained at Featherstone took those worries to whole other level.

Four players were forced off the field injured. Kriss Brining picked up a ankle injury - having missed much of the year with a hamstring problem, Tim Spears and Adam Cuthbertson broke ribs in quick succession and lastly Brendan O’Hagan finally succumbed to a thigh problem, only a week on from his return after a long spell on the sidelines.

Added to that, Matty Marsh, Corey Johnson and Jordan Baldwinson all picked up knocks and looked to be evidently feeling the effects of those, but they carried, with York out of options from the bench.

By the end of the game, head coach James Ford reported that the team had just nine fully fit players still on the field.

As Ford has keenly pointed out on a number of occasions this year, he and the players are not willing to use injuries as an excuse for what has been a disappointing campaign to date.

But, as most prominently highlighted at Featherstone, York have continually been low on bodies, particularly in key areas like full-back, half-back and hooker.

It is a legitimate reason for some of their failings this year rather than an easy cop-out.

2. Questions surround spine of team moving forwards

The big question for York now is what the make up of their team will look like for Sunday’s home game against Whitehaven and the rest of the year.

Ford stated that he and the coaching staff would have to wait until the back end of this week before deciding upon a starting 17 for the Whitehaven game and would give those injured players every opportunity of proving their fitness.

That though means another week of training with an unknown combination through the spine of the team, which is not ideal.

Time will tell just how serious the injuries sustained by Brining, O’Hagan, Marsh and Johnson are.

Once more though, Ford has to contend with the majority of the spine of his team carrying knocks of some kind.

3. Another cruel blow for Brendan O’Hagan

Amid York’s injury crisis, one has to feel plenty of sympathy for Brendan O’Hagan.

The half-back has played just a handful of times this year for York and may well be set for a prolonged period on the sidelines, should the thigh problem he sustained prove to be serious.

Most frustratingly for Knights fans is that the young Australian has shown huge amounts of promise in his brief appearances.

In the opening ten minutes against Featherstone, O’Hagan twice assisted Ben Jones-Bishop’s brace of tries.

The first was a brilliant looping cut-out pass to the winger while the second saw some quick thinking as he again found the former Leeds and Wakefield winger following Sam Scott’s offload.

It did then rather sum up his misfortune this year to see him pick up an injury as he played a long downfield kick.

Like Johnson and Marsh, he attempted to soldier on by defending on the wing and leaving the kicking duties to the latter. But he was eventually forced off in the second half.

Let’s hope that we can see repeats of O’Hagan first-half performances before the season ends.

4. Classy Featherstone display promotion credentials

What should not be forgotten when reflecting on the defeat to Featherstone is just how good this current Rovers team are.

After their closely-fought defeat against league leaders Toulouse Olympique earlier this month, there were whispers in some quarters about whether Halifax Panthers could catch them and take second-place.

Those fears do look as if they have been dismissed after Featherstone’s strong showing against York.

The 44 points they scored against the Knights took them to 651 from 16. At over 40 points per game, their average points scored is remarkable.

It would come as a surprise to very few if they were playing in Super League next year.

5. Whitehaven is a must-win game

A play-offs finish now looks increasingly unlikely for York but they will still look to finish above seventh-placed Whitehaven, who they face on Sunday.

It looks like a significant game if York are to find some form by the end of the season.