Thomas Coyle - The road to recovery
Tuesday 19th June 2012
Thomas Coyle - The road to recovery
This week, injured hooker and reigning ‘Players' Player of the Year' Thomas Coyle meets Vikings Media Apprentice Joshua Worrall for an update on his injury situation.
JW: It seems like an absolute age since you picked up your injury Thomas. What are your memories of that Under 20's game versus Wakefield Trinity Wildcats back in February?
TC: I made a break and someone grabbed me and pulled me back. His leg then accidentally made contact with my leg and the impact was made with such force that my leg literally snapped!
JW: Talk us through the first stages of your rehab?
TC: Basically, I came in every single day and had a few small exercises to do on the medical bed which lasted six weeks. This preceded a weights session, but apart from that I did very little as it was only the early stages of recovery. In the last couple of weeks however, I have been doing a lot of running, so I'm optimistic about my return to action.
JW: Did it feel extra frustrating that the timing of your injury coincided with the fact that you had just signed a two-year extension to your deal with the Vikings, and obviously had the ambition to play regular first team football at the highest level?
TC: Definitely! Having played every game last season and being voted ‘Players' Player of the Year' at the end of season Supporters club event, I was absolutely gutted to pick up a serious injury at the start of a brand new season. But you have to take it and move on in the sport of Rugby League because that's the nature of our game, isn't it?
JW: Having previously played Super League rugby with Wigan Warriors, albeit briefly back in 2008 when you made your debut, how are you enjoying being back in a full time environment?
TC: It's brilliant. I'm doing a job which I enjoy and have always aspired to do, which is being a professional sportsman. As you may be aware, I dropped down to part time level when Widnes were in the Championship, so whilst I was playing Rugby each week, I combined this with an Electrician qualification. But I was always confident that Widnes would achieve the license for Super League, and fortunately it ended with me getting a two year deal, so it's worked out well. Last season was tough with working in a full time job outside of Rugby and then arriving and putting another big effort in during the evenings. Denis has such high standards, and it was tiring at times. But now all my focus can be on Super League with the Vikings and once I'm fully fit again, I'm really looking forward to playing alongside and against some of the most talented individuals within the game.
JW: Has it felt extra comforting that during your recovery from injury you've had the likes of Ben Kavanagh alongside you for moral support?
TC: It's been very beneficial to be honest. As unfortunate as it was for Ben to suffer an injury like that, it has made it easier for me because we've trained together and done similar things. I think I would have struggled if I'd been on my own for this length of time.
JW: What has been the best part of the recovery process for you and the other members of the injured crew?
TC: Going to Nandos once a week, for sure!
JW: As an outsider looking in, I've noticed there is a great spirit in the camp this year. Tell us more about it?
TC: There's a really close relationship between the players at the moment, and the injured crew are looking forward to getting back in the fold as soon as possible.
JW: When can we expect to see you back in a Vikings shirt, Thomas?
TC: I'm not sure yet, no one has given me a specific date. I'm going for a check-up soon which I hope will let me know a bit more. I'm hoping for August/September, but I probably won't play 1st team football again until next season. At best, all I can hope for is a couple of run outs with the Under 20's this year.
JW: Do you enjoy playing for the Under 20's and are these type of games useful to get players ready for first team action?
TC: I was still carrying a knock from last season which meant that I hadn't trained too much, so I played in the 20's in an attempt to get back to full fitness after not being picked for the opening Super League squads. I'd recommend it to any player as an ideal level to participate in to prove your fitness.
JW: From that group of Under 20's you played alongside and are likely to again, which of them stand out as being one's that could step up to first team level in the future?
TC: The likes of Grant Gore, Danny Craven, Liam Thompson and Tom Kelly are all really good players. Their chance will no doubt come around eventually and when it does, they just have to make sure they make the most of it. Denis doesn't want to throw them in at the deep end, that would be silly given the hostile environment Widnes now play in, but he knows that it's only by experience that they will grow.
JW: I've heard you've recently tried your hand at the Media side of things within Rugby League, doing the summarising on a Wire FM match commentary. With the vast majority of pros turning to coaching after their playing days are numbered, is working on radio something you are looking at instead?
TC: No, I don't think so! I'd much prefer a coaching route. I didn't enjoy the radio thing to be completely honest, as being a professional, I was put on the spot an awful lot.
JW: Was it particularly difficult to comment on other people's performances?
TC: It's very difficult to be critical of your team mates, as I certainly found out. Sometimes I ended up saying more than I should have, or struggled to hold back an expletive whenever one of the Widnes Vikings players made a mistake!
JW: On a similar theme, do you often watch the Sky Sports coverage of the Stobart Super League, and if so, which team stands out for you as being well equipped to go all the way to Old Trafford this year?
TC: I watch most of the televised matches on a weekly basis and I have to say Wigan are the team to beat in many people's opinions and have set the standards for the past couple of seasons now. Shaun Wane is doing a great job there!
We now move on to the quick-fire set of six...
JW: Who's the biggest prankster in the squad?
TC: It's a toss-up between Brisc and Kav. They're always up to something, which often includes doing something to Paddy Flynn's bike!
JW: What for you is the best part of playing hooker or scrum half, which are the two positions you've alternated between in recent seasons?
TC: You are the main organiser in either of those positions and you regularly get hold of the ball and are able to influence the game. Those are some of the reasons why I enjoy playing in these areas.
JW: Who's your best friend in the camp and why?
TC: Ben Kavanagh at the moment, as we seem to spend every minute of every day together.
JW: Have you watched any of the Euro 2012 football we're being force-fed at the moment?
TC: Yes, I watched the France v England match recently, but it was really boring wasn't it?
JW: Who are your favorites to win Euro 2012?
TC: We all want England to win, but if I'm being honest the team to beat is definitely Germany in my opinion. They've got a team packed with young, hungry players like Mesut Ozil, and I can see them going all the way this year.
JW: Finally, I want to get your thoughts on next season because for you personally your injury has meant that you've pretty much had to write this season off in many ways. What are your future ambitions?
TC: Well, I'd like to try and get a regular spot in the first team. A lot of focus for me will be to get a good pre-season under my belt, as I did last season by playing in the Boxing Day fixture against Warrington for example. But above all, I'll have to make sure that I remain fit, or else my ambition for first team action will fade away.
Tickets for the Stobart Super League XVII - Rd. 18 fixture between Wigan Warriors and Widnes Vikings at the DW Stadium on Monday 25 June (KO - 8.00pm), are on sale at the official Vikings club shop, situated at Stadium Fitness on Lowerhouse Lane. They will remain on sale until 5.00pm on Saturday 23 June.
Alternatively, call the Ticket Hotline: 0151 510 6020.
Don't forget, buying in advance not only saves you a few quid on match day prices, it also earns the club a 10% commission.
Advance tickets are priced as follows;
North Stand (Unreserved Seating)
Over 60 years £14
Under 16 years £14
Ambulant (including free carer if eligible) £14
Should any supporters require a ticket, they are advised to contact the DW Stadium Ticket Hotline: 0871 663 3552 and ask for Wigan Warriors' Disabled Co-ordinator, Norma Sherratt.
Junior Viking Stronghold members need to the necessary exchange voucher from the 2012 booklet for a match ticket in advance of the game from Stadium Fitness on Lowerhouse Lane.
Parking is available at the DW Stadium, at the following tariff:
Mini Buses £10
Coach travel is also available for the game. Please choose from any of the options listed below for further details (price, pick-up points, etc).
Office: 0151 424 1030 or Neil: 07837 067838
Alan Rae: 07837 283634
STOBART SPORTS BAR TRAVEL
Jeanie: 07974 954241
Monday 25 June 2012
Stobart Super League XVII - Rd. 18
Wigan Warriors v Widnes Vikings (KO - 8.00pm)
The DW Stadium