David Clegg Continues His Series Reviewing the Season Through The Eyes Of Up And Coming First Teamers, With Injury-Beset, Jordan Walne
In stark contrast to older brother, Adam, for whom 2016 proved to be one of his best seasons at the club, Jordan Walne spent much of last season sidelined, through injury. For him 2016 was a stop – start year, on which he will probably look back upon with some degree frustration.
For the cause of that we have to look back to the end of the 2015 season.
“It was in the next to the last game of the season, at Widnes,” he recalls. “I damaged my knee ligament in a tackle, and was forced to leave the field.”
That injury was going to affect not only his pre-season, but also to carry some impact for much of the season, itself.
“I ended up having to have a complete knee reconstruction,” he explains, “and was given a recuperation period of between six and nine months. In the end I felt ready to return after the six but in hindsight, it was probably too soon, because, although I got a couple of games in, further problems developed.”
His first game back was in the away fixture at Wigan, at the end of February. It will be remembered that although this ended in a 20-16 defeat, the Red Devils had matched their most illustrious of hosts throughout. Indeed, Jordan was involved in the final tackle of the match, in which the ball appeared to come loose from a Wigan attacker in a forward direction, over the Salford try-line. The match-winning try which was then awarded was hotly disputed by the Salford players who were nearby.
The following week he was in the team to face Warrington in the televised home match, which he will remember for two reasons.
“I came on from the bench, only for me to tweak my hamstring within the first five minutes,” he ruefully recalls. “This had been used for grafting purposes in my operation, and obviously was not as fully healed as I had thought. I felt that I had played well in both matches, and was disappointed it had come to such an end for me.”
Equally dispiriting was the way the Wolves snatched victory in the final moments of the game, with Chris Sandow’s drop goal, in the final second, in much the same way as the Warrior’s try of the week before had done.
“It had felt as if we were in control in both of those games, and it was disappointing to have them snatched away from us in the way they were,” he admits.
“To be fair it was an incredible drop goal, almost as good as Gareth O’Brien’s in the Million Pound Game!”
The enforced layoff which followed his latest setback was especially frustrating for him as he had already missed six months of preparation. His return to action some three weeks later came in the Easter Monday visit to Huddersfield, followed a week later in the away fixture at Wakefield. An outing with North Wales Crusaders gave him a little more game time the following week, before he was recalled to the bench for our two Challenge Cup encounters at Hunslet and Castleford.
A further period on the sidelines saw Jordan working primarily to continue catching up on the levels of development towards which he had been working all season. There was to be one further spell of three matches in which he featured towards the end of the regular season, all of them from the bench and heralded again by a game with North Wales, when we hosted Huddersfield and Castleford before travelling to Warrington.
The time he has had without playing, since, has however seemingly done him a world of good.
“It’s only now that I am feeling fully fit and on top of things,” he happily reports. “My knee feels fully back to rights, I am feeling really sharp in training, and I’m raring to go throughout pre-season and get myself back for 2017.”
In The Final Episode Of This Series, David Clegg, Next Time, Meets With Ryan Lannon