Third time unlucky for young Wigan Warriors prop
The academy product was on the brink of breaking into the Wigan side last summer at a time when Adrian Lam was missing several frontline players – only for injury to rule him out.
Then, earlier this year, Kilner and fellow forward Jack Wells left the club to join Super League newcomers Toronto Wolfpack on a month-long loan.
Kilner was in Brian McDermott’s squad to play at Leeds – but a shoulder problem forced him to withdraw.
He recovered and was on course to finally get his chance in the big-time, only for the coronavirus pandemic to put the campaign on hold.
Kilner said: “I know I’m close to getting my chance, I probably should have had it by now but these things just keep cropping up.
“I was hoping to make my debut last year against Catalans but I got injured.
“Then I went to Toronto and I needed an injection in my shoulder, so I had to withdraw.
“There was talk of extending the loan and I thought I’d finally get my chance, and then this happened.”
The ex-Oulton Raiders junior is now at home with his family near Castleford, and though he didn’t get the chance to play with Toronto, he enjoyed the experience - and training alongside Sonny Bill Williams.
“It was surreal, really, because he’s been No.1 all my life,” he said. “When we got there, the first person we saw when we walked in was Sonny, he came over and gave us a hug and was really welcoming.
“We did a month with them and it was a good experience.
“You can tell they are new to Super League, the sessions weren’t as intense as they are at Wigan, but I really enjoyed it.”
Kilner, who joined Wigan’s scholarship as a 14-year-old, is trying to maintain his fitness with improvised sessions at home.
He added: “I’ve no weights at home so I’ve been using packs of water and things like that – anything I can get my hands on!"
A message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:
Thank you for reading this story on our website.
But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy when you pop out for your essential shop or subscribing for delivery.
Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.
As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: "Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role."
But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.
We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: You can subscribe for delivery by contacting us at [email protected] or calling us on 0330 4033004 for details of a participating newsagent near you.