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Warrington Wolves boss not tempted to rush return of Michael Monaghan
WOLVES coach Tony Smith has admitted that lessons have been learned and that he is now under no temptation to rush Michael Monaghan’s recovery from injury ahead of the make-or-break Challenge Cup quarter final with Catalan Dragons.
Warrington Wolves were hoping to welcome back their reigning player of the year to the squad that will take on Salford City Reds at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday, kick off 3pm, but instead his return has been delayed at least another week after his inflamed knees refuse to respond to treatment.
His recovery since undergoing double knee surgery earlier in the season has been slow and unpredictable, with the 31-year-old making two appearances against Wigan and St Helens in the weeks following his surgery, but failing to make an appearance since then.
Smith admitted that the temptation to rush the former Manly man back for the vital double header against Wolves’ fiercest rivals has handed out a lesson, especially with the big games looming on the horizon.
“There is definitely a case for saying that we were trying to get him back too soon, which is definitely a contributing factor,” admitted Smith.
“But we are also talking about the recovery from a long-term injury that has been caused by many, many years of playing.
“There is no temptation to rush him back, whether it is two weeks’ time, three weeks’ time, whenever.
“We are not going to jeopardise anyone’s long-term welfare for the sake of one particular game.
“He is trying desperately hard to get himself back on the field and pain free and we are taking it slowly because it is a slow process.
“It can be a bit frustrating for all concerned, but unless he is right we don’t want to aggravate anything.”
For all of Wolves’ medical expertise, they are unable to speed up the recovery process of the talismanic hooker whose return, admits the coach, would make a positive impact on performances.
“I think Micky Higham and Brad Dwyer have done a good job in his absence, but we are talking about a world class player in Michael so to say that we don’t miss him at all would be wrong,” said Smith.
Doubtless the team would welcome the direction and drive the number nine offers from dummy half.
Joel Monaghan is perhaps best placed to reveal how upsetting time away from the team has been for his older brother.
“Michael has struggled and as his brother you feel for him,” said Joel.
“He is a very competitive person and he is making our home life torture at the moment by not being able to play.
“Mick just loves playing, and when he is not doing that he gets frustrated.
“We would love to have him back, if not just for the team but also so he’s not so cranky at home!”