Hull KR's Kris Welham: I'm gutted to be out
HULL KR's opening clash with Catalan Dragons is a fixture which has long been ringed on vice-captain Kris Welham's calendar.
Having endured eight months without a Super League match since breaking his leg against the same team at MS3 Craven Park last season, this Sunday's game was always meant to mark a new start.
But just as Welham was building confidence in his leg in pre-season clashes with Wigan and Hull, disaster struck.
Attempting to score a try by diving on a loose ball in the in-goal area, Ben Crooks caught his left hand as he cleared the danger, and left Welham with a broken left hand.
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"I'm gutted to be missing the first game of the season," Welham told the Mail.
"It's been a very frustrating time for me and it's doing my head in.
"I worked so hard to get back from the leg injury in the off-season and in pre-season to be fit and ready, then in my second game I break my hand."
Thankfully, having spent two thirds of a year battling back from his previous, much more serious injury, Welham has quickly put his latest setback into perspective.
And that has seen the 25-year-old set his focus on a return to action again very soon.
"It might be a couple of weeks before I'm back playing so I won't be too far away," he said.
"That's what I am thinking of. I'm just looking to getting back to playing because it has been so long.
"It's been close to eight months since I last played a competitive match. I've only played 80 minutes in that time with a half against Wigan and a half against Hull.
"The leg was perfect, I didn't feel a thing on it, which is great."
Come this Sunday, Welham will be given a watching brief as Rovers start their second season under Craig Sandercock.
His absence means Rovers will not only be without their all-time leading try scorer in the Super League, but also their other first-choice centre, new signing Sean Gleeson, who is still recovering from a back injury picked up in pre-season.
It has created opportunities for others to step forward and stake a claim for their place, with youngster Liam Salter selected, and Chris Heil also in the running.
"Whoever steps in for me and Sean, they will want to keep the place when we come back," Welham said.
"Liam is playing really well, but Sean isn't too far away from being fully fit as well."
ROVERS are not due to make a statement on the proposed investment into the club by Tony Larvin until Monday.