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Last Updated: Monday, 18 August, 2003, 19:58 GMT 20:58 UK
Injury after injury

By Paul Sculthorpe
St Helens and Great Britain star

The club suffered a massive blow with the news that Darren Britt has been forced to retire after fracturing his eye-socket, cheekbone and jaw against Hull.

St Helens prop Darren Britt has been forced to retire from the sport
Britt's influence on the pitch will be sorely missed by Saints

It's a shame his career has had to end it in such an unfortunate way.

It was just a clash of heads - something that happens a lot in the game - but resulted in such a bad injury.

But at least we're fortunate that Darren is still going to be around the place.

He is taking on a coaching role and we can only learn from someone who has been there and done it at all levels.

We've had more than our fair share of bad luck with injuries this season but hopefully we can see some light at the end of the tunnel now.

Paul Newlove played at the weekend and most of the lads aren't too far away from full fitness.

Hopefully it will mean that we have a lot of fresh players to select from when the big games come around.

My rehabilitation is coming along fairly smoothly and I'm hoping to play in the Widnes game at the end of the month.

Our injury problems meant we had to pull out of the Middlesex Sevens.

I would have loved to have played at Twickenham, flying the flag for rugby league.

But ultimately our priority has to be Super League and we just didn't have the bodies.

If there's one silver lining to emerge from the problems we've had, it's been the performances of the young lads that have come in to the first team.

Against Castleford on Friday, John Hill, James Graham and Ian Hardman all made their debuts and didn't let anybody down.

Although it's not ideal to throw them in at the deep end, we know now what they are like under pressure and capable of handling the rigours of Super League.

It was a real shame to hear that Andrew Johns will miss the Ashes tour later this year.

Australia captain Andrew Johns
Johns will miss the rest of the season with a serious neck injury

I know Joey well. He's a great bloke and probably the best player in the world. I hope he recovers quickly.

Joey's absence might make Great Britain's job in the Tests a bit easier.

But whoever Australia select to replace him will be a quality player and our preparations will not be affected in any way.

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