EORL CRABTREE is determined to be back sooner rather than later after the worst possible start to Super League XIV.
While his Giants teammates were celebrating a magnificent 30-8 opening-day Super League victory at Catalans Dragons, Crabtree was on the treatment table with a torn right hamstring.
He suffered the injury, which could keep him sidelined for up to six weeks, within a minute of coming onto the field as a 21st-minute substitute.
The 26-year-old prop admits it was a complete and utter nightmare and the worst possible opening-day scenario.
But Crabtree was still able to ease some of his pain by watching his teammates rip the Dragons apart, and he has vowed to return to action as rapidly as possible.
"It’s just typical!" was his immediate reaction.
"I went to Catalans feeling fitter and stronger than ever before, and I was determined to get off to the best possible start.
"My confidence was sky high after a fantastic pre-season and, like the rest of the boys, I was ready to go and give it everything.
"But while it obviously all went perfectly for everyone else, it was an absolute nightmare for me and to say I was bitterly disappointed was an understatement.
"As soon as the hamstring went I knew there was something seriously wrong.
"I actually tweaked it in the warm-up and was hoping I’d be able to run it off when I took to the field.
"I made a first very strong carry, which I was really happy about, but next time I got the ball I felt this incredible pain at the back of my leg, and I knew straight away there was no way I’d be able to continue.
"To be honest, I was in a lot of pain throughout the match, but I did enjoy hearing the Catalans fans from the tunnel in the second half!
"The home supporters were calling for absolute everything, and it was a pretty intimidating atmosphere.
"But the boys dealt with it incredibly well, and it was amazing how the pain seemed to go a bit as our performances kept on getting stronger and the French fans were getting quieter and quieter!
"For me, that was the best part of the trip."
Unfortunately, the injury means Crabtree will miss tomorrow’s big opening home clash against St Helens.
It’s a fixture Crabtree normally relishes.
But after last week’s events in the South of France, he’s confident his teammates won’t let him down.
"The boys were brilliant last week, and because of my injury we effectively won the game with just 16 men," added Crabtree.
"But they still finished the game far stronger than Catalans, which proved exactly how fit a side we now are.
"I’ve no doubt that if we can build on this performance tomorrow we can beat Saints. I just wish I was out there on the field with the boys.
"The Crabtree family had booked a box for this game, looking forward to seeing me play, but it now looks like I’ll be in it with them!
"It’ll be interesting to see what Browny does without me and if he feels Michael Korkidas is ready to make his debut.
"Personally, I’d be delighted if Korki did, because I didn’t realise until he joined us what a cracking lad he is.
"But whoever takes over from me, I’ll be making sure they’re just keeping my place warm for my return!
"I’ve been told I could be out for six weeks, but I’m determined to be back in four if at all possible.
"I really feel this could be the year to step up onto the international stage, and the sooner I can get back in action, the sooner I can start to find my best form."