INJURY-STRICKEN Oldham RL Club have been hit by another double whammy.
Scott Turner and Richard Lepori won’t play again this season and Turner’s rugby league career may be over at the age of 23.
The former North Wales Crusaders wing or full-back has been concussed on three separate occasions this year and has now asked Roughyeds for time away from the game while he considers his future.
Italian international Lepori, meanwhile, has been told there is only one cure for his ankle injury — an operation.
Said coach Scott Naylor:
“We’ve nine big games left. To lose one of these lads for the season would be bad enough. To lose both is an enormous blow as we head for the business end of the season.
“Scott (Turner) has decided he doesn’t want to risk getting a fourth concussion. While he’s away from the game he’ll be thinking things over.
“As far as next year is concerned that’s up to him and whatever decision he arrives at.
“We’ve been told ‘Lippy’ (Lepori) must have surgery so that rules him out as well.
“We keep getting bad news with injuries and they’re not your run-of-the-mill injuries either; they’re long-term, season-ending injuries. It’s relentless.
“We’ve just got to take it on the chin and get on with it. But as I’ve said before I’ve never known anything like it in all my career.”
Oldham’s ‘Black Friday’ doesn’t end there.
Danny Langtree (bicep), Liam Thompson (sternum) and on-loan Kameron Pearce-Paul (sternum), who all played against Featherstone last time out, miss Sunday’s game against Sheffield (at Wakefield Trinity’s ground) and join Turner, Lepori, Phil Joy, Adam Neal, Jack Spencer, Gareth Owen and Craig Briscoe on the casualty roster.
Joy (shoulder), Neal (jaw) and Briscoe (knee) are recovering from major surgery.
The only light at the end of the injury tunnel concerns Danny Grimshaw, fit after hamstring trouble, and Scott Leatherbarrow, who is said to be a ‘possibility’ for Sheffield after damaging an ankle at Bradford three weeks ago.
Vice-captain Sammy Gee can play again after suspension and Naylor has confirmed that dual-reg players from Huddersfield Giants will also be available.
OLDHAM (from): Adamson, Adebiyi, Bent, Burke, Clay, Davies, Gee, Grimshaw, Hewitt, Hughes, Leatherbarrow, Nield, Tyson, Ward, Wilkinson, Williams plus dual-reg players.
SHEFFIELD (from): Owens, Millar, Yere, Spedding, Blackmore, Fozzard, Marginet, Wheeldon, Burns, Richards, James, Flynn, Hope, Johnson, Milton, Scott, Mexico, Garry Lo, Whiteley, Straughier.
Despite the injury crisis, Naylor believes Roughyeds can complete a league double against the Eagles, like they did last year.
He said: “If we play as we did against Toulouse and for large parts of the Featherstone game we’ll have a game to be won. They’re seventh in the league on 18 points, but they’ve got the worst defensive record in the division.
“They’re not the Sheffield we used to worry about. It’s winnable and we’re looking forward to it.”
Before the game there will be a minute’s applause in memory of 14-year-old Evan Hawksworth of Stanley Rangers (Wakefield) under-14s, who tragically died after sustaining a head injury during a game.