YORK Knights boss Andrew Henderson confirmed that Ronan Michael is “doing okay” after failing a head injury assessment during Sunday’s 20-14 defeat to Toulouse Olympique.

The Irish prop was knocked out by former Warrington Wolves forward Sitaleki Akauola as he looked to make a tackle during the second half of the sides’ Betfred Championship clash at the LNER Community Stadium.

Akauola’s elbow appeared to connect with Michael’s head during the incident, and he was promptly sent off by referee Ben Thaler - reducing the French side to just 11 men by the match’s conclusion.

However, neither he, nor Harrison Hansen, has faced any retrospective action from the RFL's Match Review Panel - despite Knights captain Liam Harris receiving a one-match ban for a seemingly lesser incident. 

It is the second time that the popular forward has been knocked out and subsequently failed a HIA against Toulouse, 13 months on from a similar incident in France last February.

Whilst the Irishman will miss Sunday’s trip to Barrow Raiders (3pm) under the sport’s return to play protocol, Henderson was able to provide a positive update on his condition.

“He’s on the 12 day return to training and return to playing protocol at the moment,” he explained to The Press.

“ He’s progressing through the stages of that currently, and at the moment he’s doing okay.

“We’re taking each day as it comes. If there are any signs or symptoms then he will have to regress and start again.

“Hopefully at the moment he is doing okay, and that keeps progressing as each day comes.”

York Press: James Cunningham has suffered a setback after picking up a knock at Newcastle Thunder in January.James Cunningham has suffered a setback after picking up a knock at Newcastle Thunder in January. (Image: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

Teammate James Cunningham saw his own 2023 season ended early after reaching the limit of concussions in an 18 month spell.

The former London Broncos utility player, whom Henderson labelled a ‘Mr Fix It’ amid his side’s injury crisis last term, did not feature after being knocked out in the second half of the Knights’ 24-10 victory in the capital at the end of July.

He made his long-awaited return at loose forward in their AB Sundecks 1895 Cup opener at Newcastle Thunder in January, but has not played since after being set back in his recovery from a knock.

“He took a knock against Newcastle in the back end of that game,” said Henderson.

“We’ve been progressing his rehab there and he’s had a little setback in his recovery so we’re just investigating that at the moment.”

The Knights do however seem set to be boosted by the returns of both full-back Will Dagger and loose forward Jordan Thompson - notable absentees across the Championship’s opening two fixtures - after serving their respective suspensions.

Thompson was handed two separate one-match bans after twice being sent to the sin-bin during York’s Betfred Challenge Cup defeat to Sheffield Eagles last month, whilst Dagger’s headbutt, and subsequent red card, saw him also sidelined for two matches.

The Knights head coach enthused: “They are both quality players and are both integral to our team.

“We will certainly welcome them back and they will both add a lot of value and support the team in the way they do.

“Having Jordy back in the middle gives us an impetus going forward, and having Will Dagger at full-back and in the mixer will give us control in the pivotal areas and offer a different threat as well."