A young Huddersfield Giants Academy star is fighting for his life in hospital after being badly injured during a game.

Ronan Costello, 18, was hurt during a match against Salford City Reds at the Dram Centre in Rawthorpe on Saturday.

Ronan, a talented centre or back-row forward, was playing for Huddersfield Giants Academy Under-19 side. The game was immediately abandoned.

It is thought Ronan sustained a serious head or neck injury in what was believed to be a routine challenge. He was said to be in a “critical” condition at Leeds General Infirmary.

The injury cast a shadow over the Giants’ Super League clash with Wakefield Trinity at the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday with players and fans alike desperate for news.

After the Giants 10-2 defeat, coach Paul Anderson said: “All that is important is Ronan getting back to health. All our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

Ronan Costello (far right) with teammates
Ronan Costello (far right) with teammates

Ronan joined the Giants last year after successful spells at Brighouse Rangers and Lindley Swifts. In 2012 he scored 11 tries in one game for Lindley against Doncaster Toll Bar.

READ MORE: Huddersfield Giants Academy player Ronan Costello told to 'fight on' as fans send messages of support

A spokesman for Huddersfield Giants said: “All messages of support will be passed on at the appropriate time and the player is currently receiving treatment in the Leeds General Infirmary.”

The club tweeted later: “Huddersfield Giants Academy player Ronan Costello remains in a critical condition in Leeds General Infirmary.

“The club respectfully asks that all supporters respect the wish for privacy and sensitivity for the family at such a difficult time.”

Salford City Reds also sent their good wishes. In a statement the club said: “Salford Red Devils U19s game at Huddersfield Giants was abandoned after a serious injury to the Giants’ Ronan Costello.

Huddersfield have asked that the privacy of Ronan’s family is respected at such a sensitive time.

“It goes without saying that the thoughts of the Salford Red Devils club are with Ronan and his family.”

Players at both Huddersfield and Salford are to be offered counselling by the sport’s charity Rugby League Cares.

Giants’ star Michael Lawrence said the whole club had been impacted by what happened.

He said the players had been kept informed before and after Sunday’s game.

He added: “The senior players all knew Ronan well having spent time training with the club’s Academy juniors.

“We are all gutted about what’s happened and all our thoughts are obviously with the family. It’s a tough time for everyone but obviouly those closest to him will be feeling it really hard.”

Rugby league players, fans and friends posted messages of support on social media.

Leeds Rhinos second row forward Brett Ferres – a former Giants player – added: “Keep fighting Ronan Costello.

Former Huddersfield Giants player Brett Ferres

“Just shows the dangers of our great sport. RL family will be right behind you.”

Chris McLaren tweeted: “Keep fighting Ronan Costello. Thoughts and prayers with you, your family and friends at this moment.”

Ruth Milner added: “Sending love and healing to Ronan Costello and thinking of his family, teammates and friends.”

Warrington Wolves second row Jack Hughes tweeted: “Speedy recovery to Ronan Costello.”