Strong-running Doncaster RLFC back-rower Frankie Mariano is set to miss the opening games of the Betfred League One campaign.
The Scottish international hasn’t played since injuring a shoulder playing for the Bravehearts in a European Championship game following the end of the domestic league campaign and looks likely to need surgery.
After showing no improvement in recent weeks Mariano was sent for a scan which revealed some damage and he is set to see a consultant.
With last season’s player-of-the-season Brad England also set to miss the start of the campaign, and Charlie Martin having moved on, the Dons found themselves struggling for back-rowers in their three pre-season games and will be eager to see Mariano back in action as soon as possible.
Mariano joined the Dons early last season after leaving Championship outfit Featherstone Rovers by mutual consent and scored five tries in 15 games.
He had previously spent three seasons with local rivals Castleford Tigers, who he played for in the 2014 Challenge Cup final, prior to being released at the end of an injury-hit 2016 campaign.
The Hull-born forward also boasts previous Super League experience with Wakefield Trinity where he scored 21 tries in 56 games.
“I was happy with how things went last season, once I got over an injury I was carrying, he said.
“It was obviously very disappointing for everyone connected with the club when we fell at the first hurdle in the play-offs, especially having had home advantage and gone into the tie having won our previous ten games.
“Spirits were sky high going into that game, particularly as we had beaten Workington at home the previous week in our last league game, and we all felt pretty low at the end.
“I was looking forward to having a good pre-season but unfortunately I’ve not been able to do any contact work or work on the weights though I’ve kept myself fit in other ways.
“We’ve got a tough start to the season on Saturday week up at Newcastle and we’ve also got to play several other promotion contenders in the first month or so, so it’s very important that we get off to a good start.
“Pre-season results weren’t as good as we had hoped even though we were up against three Super League sides.
“The injuries also meant that some forwards had to play more minutes than would normally be the case but that will hopefully have helped in terms of fitness.
“I wouldn’t say pre-season results affect you going into the start of a new league season. We knew we’d be underdogs in all three games.”