Early-season injury crisis benefiting Castleford Tigers

Tigers boss Daryl Powell: "Quite a few players have been injured and are now fresh."
Tigers boss Daryl Powell: "Quite a few players have been injured and are now fresh."

Coach Daryl Powell believes Castleford Tigers are benefiting from their early-season injury crisis because players now fresh.

“Quite a few players have been injured and are now fresh,” he said.

“Luke Dorn, for example, has only played minimal games this season. Justin Carney and Denny Solomona both missed a chunk and it helps that we have got people fresh now.”

Castleford travel to Hull tomorrow on a five-game winning run and in the sort of consistently good form their coach has been seeking since the season began, five months ago.

Cas’ hot streak started in May, when they beat Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in Newcastle and Powell said: “It is interesting reading the Magic Weekend programme and the piece they’d done with me in there.

“I’d talked about consistency and how I was frustrated at that point, but since then we’ve not lost a game.

“That game, on the back of a couple of things that happened to us, really turned us around.

“We have spoken about games we’ve lost earlier in the season and where we’d be if we’d won them, but I think it [struggles at the start of the campaign] defined us - the difficult period we’ve had to go through and how we’ve had to work hard to get out of it.

“I’ve certainly learned a whole heap as a coach this year and I think players have too about getting out of tough scenarios.”

Nathan Massey suffered an ankle injury in last weekend’s win over Widnes - which could sideline him for a month - and Frankie Mariano (knee) has been ruled out for the rest of the year but everyone else is available.

Castleford are three points adrift of second-placed Wigan Warriors, but the win six days ago guaranteed a top-eight spot with three games remaining in the weekly rounds.

“I am relieved, to be honest,” Powell admitted. “We didn’t want to be in bottom four, that’s a bearpit.

“But now we’ve got a great opportunity at the other end, to push for the top-four and go on for a Grand Final tilt.”

Scott Moore, Ashley Gibson and Ryan Boyle are all vying for a recall for tomorrow’s game.

Hull are without suspended forward Mickey Paea, along with injured duo Setaimata Sa and Iafeta Paleaaesina.

Richard Whiting has been drafted into the squad and other players in contention are Jamie Shaul, Dean Hadley, Curtis Naughton and Jordan Abdull.

Hull: from Abdull, Bowden, Ellis, Green, Hadley, Houghton, Lineham, Logan, Michaels, Naughton, Pryce, Rankin, Shaul, Sneyd, Talanoa, Thompson, Watts, Westerman, Whiting.

Castleford Tigers: from Dorn, Solomona, Webster, Shenton, Carney, Finn, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Millington, O Holmes, McMeeken, Cook, Roberts, Moors, Springer, Boyle, Moore, Gibson.

Referee: Joe Cobb (Leigh).