Loving the battlefield
Bill Arthur finds the England medics busy but unbowed as Pat Benatar and Petula Clark hit Melbourne.
Last Updated: 25/10/10 12:34pm
The England medical team have a busy time ahead of them with all the bumps and bruises the players picked up in the game against the Kiwis last weekend.
Top of the list is Michael Shenton whose ankle ligament injury is going to keep him out of the game against the Aussies next Sunday. Shenton suffered the injury late in the first half and it's amazing what an adrenalin rush does for a player.
Shenton, despite the damage to his ankle, was one of England's stand-out performers in their second-half fightback, making two long-range breaks.
But by Sunday morning he was on crutches with his ankle in a protective boot. His Four Nations tour could be over but the medical team will be working to try and get him fit in time for England's appearance in the final. That's still the aim, despite the set back in Wellington. It just means they've got to beat the Kangaroos in Melbourne.
They'll have to do it without Shenton but the St Helens-bound centre certainly made an impact on the Kiwis in that game at the Cake Tin - although it wasn't the sort of impact he was thinking of. It was Shenton's elbow that did the damage to Manu Vatuei, the giant New Zealand winger.
Vatuvei's forearm caught the England centre right on the point of his elbow and the Kiwi suffered a broken arm as a result. The Beast is out of the rest of the tournament. Trouble is there are plenty more beasts where he came from!
So England's medical staff have already had a busy time, first having to deal with the injury to Adrian Morley in the warm-up game and now trying to get Shenton fit again.
They'll also be trying to patch Ryan Atkins up and there are several other players with bumps and bruises. But, despite all the work, the medics have maintained their sense of humour, as England's media manager John Ledger will testify.
He naively volunteered to help the medical team when they decided to run through their stretcher routine to make sure they had it spot-on in case of a serious injury.
John was asked to lie on the stretcher while the staff practised their strappings and fitted the neck brace and various other restraints on him. By the end of the session John was firmly tied to the strecher, unable to move - whereupon the group carried him into the lift, propped him up and sent him up five floors.
He headed down again with a bewildered Japanese tourist and when the doors opened there were his colleagues waiting to press the buttons for floor seven again! John spent the next 15 minutes going up and down in the lift until somebody took pity on him and freed him from his bonds. But that's what you call being sent up by your mates!
As usual, there's plenty going on in Melbourne; it's a busy city and a good one for music fans. Paul Weller's doing a couple of shows and Stevo's very excited because Petula Clark is in town, too.
But England can maybe draw some inspiration from Pat Benatar, she's still going strong and is also performing in Melbourne this week. Let's hope they hit the Aussies with their Best Shots at the weekend...