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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Fatialofa travels to Leigh despite arm injury

Kiwi favourite David Fatialofa fears tomorrow’s knockout clash at Leigh will bring down the curtain on his 12 years at Whitehaven – even if the Cumbrians boot the Centurions out of the NL1 play-offs.

Veteran war horse: Haven’s David Fatialofa

The prop, one of Haven’s greatest ever front-rowers, is ready to travel to Hilton Park (3pm) despite being plagued by a long-standing arm injury.

But he reckons that next week’s elimination tie at Halifax could then come too soon to allow the injury to recover. He returned for the league win over Widnes two weeks ago but would have struggled to play if Haven had been in action again last weekend.

“If we win, and we’ve got every chance, it could take nearly two weeks for the arm to recover,” Fatialofa said.

Fatialofa is one member of the Haven heavy mob who missed the bruising league defeat at Leigh last month set to turn out tomorrow. Fellow props Marc Jackson and Ryan McDonald are also likely to feature.

“A few senior players are coming back – in the right places,” he added. “The likes of Jacko and big Ginge are key players who make a huge impression. I’m pretty sure all the lads know we can’t take this lightly.

“It was always going to be a hard decision for me to retire, especially after 12 seasons with a great club. I’ve made great friends at the club, in the community and at work.

“But at the same time, I’ve been struggling with my arm for three years, so in a way it was an easy call.”

Haven will be without forwards Graeme Mattinson and Scott Teare, both sent off in the bruising 32-8 league defeat at Leigh. And Cumbrian fans are being urged to get behind the team to help ensure their season does not come to an abrupt end tomorrow.

Leigh boss Neil Kelly told News & Star Sport he believes playmaker Dennis Moran (wrist) would miss out while centre Toa Kohe-Love was rated “very doubtful.”

“It would be silly of us to think we can pick up where we left off against Whitehaven,” Kelly said. “We have to start again and work hard.

“We have to be prepared to stand up to the physical challenge and defend what Whitehaven have to offer.”

The last encounter produced three dismissals, while a handful of incidents were also placed on report.

And Kelly added that in light of that match, he expected a strong referee would be appointed.

“We’ll be happy with that,” he said. Yorkshireman Ronnie Laughton will officiate.


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