YORK Knights head coach Andrew Henderson admits he has never come across an injury similar to Will Dagger’s freak armpit tear across his association with rugby league.

But he is hopeful that the influential full-back, who required stitches after the gruesome injury during last weekend’s defeat at Barrow Raiders, will miss just a matter of weeks in his recovery.

Dagger, who was suspended for the opening two weeks of the Betfred Championship season, was substituted midway through the opening half at Craven Park, after his attempts to play through the injury were thwarted by the physios.

Images of the former Wakefield Trinity star’s injury have done the rounds on social media this week, with Henderson admitting that the trip to Cumbria had certainly not helped the injury and suspension crisis that his side currently find themselves in.

“It has been a costly one for us unfortunately,” he conceded.

“Will’s injury, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s such a freakish injury. I’ve never seen anything like that happen in a game of rugby league in my time both playing and coaching.

“It was just a real shame because I thought he was having a really positive impact on the game in those 15 or 20 minutes and adding some real value there at the back. To lose him so early in the game, that was tough for us, but tougher for Will because of the nature of that injury.

“Hopefully he’s not going to be out for too long with that, obviously it’s a nasty wound that’s been attended to. We’re hopeful he will only be out for a few weeks.

“I think it’s been doing the rounds on the socials and I think people can see just what a horrific injury it was.”


The Knights will be hoping to get off the mark at the fourth time of asking when they host Championship favourites Wakefield on Sunday (3pm).

However, it is still unclear how exactly Dagger’s injury occurred, and with the full-back holding his arm down, Henderson admits that at first, he believed his shoulder had simply popped out.

“The physios came on and assessed him, but they said that his shoulder had stayed intact,” he told The Press. “That’s why he played on for a little bit.

“But then they went out for another check on him and realised that there was blood showing through his shirt. Then it was like ‘hang on a minute’, and once we checked, he was realising what he had really done.

“But it’s a strange one honestly because it doesn’t look like anything like a stray leg. I honestly don’t know what’s caused it.

“For Will to play on like he did, that just shows you his character. He’s a tough guy.

“That’s the thing I admire about Will Dagger, he competes hard and he’s got a real competitive edge to him. He’s obviously showed that he’s got that toughness about him that made him play on through the injury.

“He was actually called off by the physio in the end, but he was determined to try and play on and stay out there for as much as he could so as to not let his teammates down, which is a credit to him.

“But when we realised the nature of his injury, we just had to get him straight off.”

York Press: Centre Jimmy Keinhorst picked up an ankle injury at Barrow.Centre Jimmy Keinhorst picked up an ankle injury at Barrow. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

To make matters worse for Henderson’s side, centre Jimmy Keinhorst pulled up with an ankle injury just minutes later, forcing a major reshuffle that saw eventual try-scorers Charlie Severs and Oli Field forced into unfamiliar roles on the right wing and at centre.

“Jimmy, he just rolled his ankle with nothing around him,” he explained. “It was very innocuous really.

“He was just kick-chasing and obviously the pitch at Barrow is not the flattest of surfaces. There was a few dips in it already. He’s literally just got his foot stuck in a divot and his ankle’s rolled. 

“Obviously he played on for a period but it just wasn’t getting any better and he couldn’t run it off, so we had to pull him as well.

“We’ve got anywhere up to potentially nine of our regular 17 missing this week - that’s the reality. But it is what it is, and we’re not complaining about it. These things happen.”

The Knights boss was however able to provide a positive update on Irish prop Ronan Michael, who missed the trip to Craven Park after being knocked out two weeks ago by Toulouse Olympique’s Sitaleki Akauola.

He received his marching orders from Ben Thaler as a result, however somewhat surprisingly received no further action from the RFL’s Match Review Panel.

Henderson added: “Ronan’s progressing with the HIA protocol. 

“He’s got his final markers to pass this evening (Thursday). If he gets through that, then he’ll be available for selection this week.”