Sheffield Eagles captain Steve Thorpe looks set for months on the sideline after sustaining a broken cheekbone in the defeat to Bradford Bulls.
After just seven minutes of his reign as skipper, Thorpe was forced off following a challenge from Tom Olbison with the Aussie now set to be missing for a crucial phase of the season. The news is a bitter blow to the second-rower who suffered a leg break which ruled him out of the back end of the previous campaign.
Eagles director Mark Aston admitted that his side are going to be without one of their key performers for up to three months.
“We lost our new captain after six minutes with a broken cheekbone, it wasn’t what the doctor ordered,” Aston said. “There is no doubt, straight away he knew. The staff had a look at him and it was straight off to the hospital. Depending on how bad it is it could be around 10 to 12 weeks.”
After breaking his leg in a Super 8 fixture against Widnes Vikings last August, Thorpe went through a gruelling rehabilitation programme to ensure he was ready for the start of the current campaign. After making rapid progress, Thorpe took time to readjust to the rigours of Championship rugby league.
In recent weeks the 25-year-old has shown the kind of form that saw him scoop the Eagles’ Player of the Year gong for the 2015.
“It is unfortunate because he was starting to get back to where he wanted to be” Aston added. “He was really looking forward to leading this group, and was ready for the challenge to get us out of the mess we are in. It was sad but hopefully this will galvanise us. The boys will want to put it right for Steven and hopefully we can get him back quickly.”
Thorpe was awarded the captaincy, replacing Mitch Stringer, after a shake-up which also saw Quentin Laulu-Togagae handed the vice-captaincy.