English prop plays on with ruptured testicle

NO PAIN: Warrington prop Paul Wood played the second half of the Super League grand final with a ruptured right testicle.
NO PAIN: Warrington prop Paul Wood played the second half of the Super League grand final with a ruptured right testicle.

So now we know what makes one of rugby league's toughest men queasy.

''It makes your eyes water,'' legendary former South Sydney hardman John Sattler said of Warrington prop Paul Wood's effort to play on after suffering a ruptured testicle in the Super League grand final.

Wood's injury - which led to the surgical removal of his right testicle in the aftermath - added his name to grand-final folklore, alongside the likes of Sattler, who had his jaw broken early in the 1970 grand final against Manly, but played on.

Wood, who turns 31 on Wednesday, suffered the injury in the opening moments of the second half in the decider against Leeds at Old Trafford, but he did not leave the field.

After the Wolves were defeated by Leeds, he even conducted media interviews, not letting on how much pain he was in. The father of two was later hospitalised, then revealed to his Twitter followers why he would be missing his side's Mad Monday.

''Ruptured my right testicle,'' he posted in a message to Catalans player Leon Pryce. ''Got a knee 1 minute into the second half, had to have it removed tonight, no mad Monday gutted.''

Wood, remarkably, managed to keep his sense of humour, saying first: ''Just coming out the hospital to go home ... Seriously feel like I've left something???''

Then this: ''[Coach] Tony smith did say in his pre-match team talk last night 'you're balls are on the line here guys!' I didn't think he meant literally.''

Wood, who joked he would need to wear a box on the field in future, was clearly taking the ribbing from his followers in jest: ''All the jokes have come out today about my 'nuts' 'balls' 'bollocks' Good job I can take a laugh! I could of easily got a complex.''

Wood's injury is a painful reminder of the type of gruesome injuries that can occur in rugby league. He is not alone in having suffered such trauma.

Brisbane half Peter Wallace suffered a ruptured testicle while playing for NSW in the second State of Origin of 2008, although unlike Wood he did not need to have a testicle removed. Former NSW and Australian halfback Brett Kimmorley also suffered a similar injury while playing with Cronulla in 2003, as did former Roosters utility Chris Flannery a year later. Former All Blacks No 8 Wayne Shelford famously and painfully suffered a torn scrotum against France in 1986.

News of Wood's injury gathered momentum in England, alongside ongoing controversy over Premier League footballers taking dives, while it even made headlines in the US. It also attracted praise from Sattler.

''Mine was obviously a different injury to a testicle,'' Sattler said. ''I guess he must have felt all right. My jaw was broken, but I still felt okay. Obviously he must have felt the same. It makes your eyes water just thinking about it.''

League folklore has included other notable injuries in grand final. Another prop, Shane Webcke, played a role in Brisbane's win over the Roosters in the 2000 grand final despite taking a broken arm into the match. He angled his body when running to limit contact on the arm.

Sydney Morning Herald