HUDDERSFIELD Giants are facing a prop crisis ahead of their Super League XVII opener at Wigan.
Head coach Nathan Brown has today confirmed Tony Tonks and Larne Patrick will both miss the clash at the DW Stadium on Sunday, February 5.
Patrick suffered a broken wrist in training and has undergone surgery which will keep him sidelined until March.
And Tonks picked up a ban for his part in the brawl during former club Featherstone Rovers’ Co-operative Championship Grand Final triumph over Sheffield Eagles in the final game of last season.
He will be available for the Giants’ opening home game against Widnes Vikings a week later.
But with Tonks and Patrick joining experienced injured back-row duo David Fa’alogo (back) and Luke O’Donnell (knee) – who can easily push up to prop – on the sidelines, Huddersfield aren’t exactly blessed with many front-row options.
Although Brown is remaining philosophical.
“It’s not great at the moment, that’s for sure,” confessed Brown.
“But there’s nothing we can do about these latest withdrawals.
“Larne suffered a busted scaphoid in training and was left with no other choice but to undergo surgery.
“Unfortunately, that’ll keep him out until March.
“And Tony has been banned by the RFL for a couple of games, with one suspension coming into force for the trials and another ruling him out of the opening game, which is really disappointing.
“In the eight weeks he’s been training with us, his fitness and ability to move around the field have improved tremendously, and we’re all looking forward to seeing what he can do at this level.
“But there’s no point dwelling on it.
“It’s just a case of dealing with the absences as best you can and giving opportunities to the younger members of the squad.
“You just never know what sort of talents can be unearthed in situations like this, and there’s no doubt we’ve got some young blokes capable of taking their chance with both hands.”