RICHARD Owen delighted Castleford Tigers boss Terry Matterson with his contribution at Hull on his return to first team action after 13 months out.
After Nick Youngquest pulled out injured late in the build-up to last Friday’s game at the KC Stadium, 19-year-old Owen was pencilled in to make his long awaited comeback after a broken leg. He came in to play on the left wing and it was a dream return as he scored a try with virtually his first touch then ended on the winning side with the Tigers triumphing 20-18.
Matterson was so pleased with his contribution that he admitted to now having a problem about who to pick for the next game against Salford if Youngquest regains full fitness.
He said: “I’m over the moon with Richard. I didn’t expect anything from him after so long out and didn’t put any expectations on him. I just said go out there and enjoy it.
“Nick Youngquest has been fantastic for us, but I don’t know what I should do now for next week. It’s a good dilemma to have. Richard Owen is going to be a very good player for this club for some time.
“He’s been in contact training for quite a while and he’s played three under 20s games so he was getting ready. Nick only pulled out on Thursday so It’s probably a good thing that he only found out late and didn’t have too much time to think about it.
“I’m just so happy for Richard because I know what he’s been through and the heartache. It was a horrific injury and he got the infection as well that made it worse.
“He didn’t think he’d play again initially and to come out and give a performance like that was great. It’s like he took up where he left off. The future’s really bright for Richard Owen again and it’s great.
“He came up with an error-free game, scored a try and came up with a really competent all-round performance.
“He had a lot of help from Richie Mathers with his positioning, but I thought he was good in all areas.
“It’s a nice problem to have now as to who to pick on the wing for the next game. I’d rather have this than the other way, but Richie made it very difficult for me.
“Nick Youngquest has been one of our better players, while on the other wing Kirk Dixon was good again. He kicked three fantastic goals and was under a lot of pressure in the second half. It would be hard to leave one of those two out and Richie Mathers has been good for us at full-back.
“Nick Youngquest had a small tear in his quad, but was back in training on Monday and came through that okay. I’m pretty sure he’ll be available.
“He could have played, but we didn’t want to risk him and risk a four or five week injury.”
Matterson made one more change for the Hull game, bringing Ryan Hudson back after injury in place of youngster Adam Milner, and he was pleased with the display of his ex-skipper.
He added: “I thought Raz’s contribution was really good and he really stiffened us up in the middle.
“It was a tough decision to leave Adam Milner out because he’s been going all right, but Raz did well and some of his work at dummy half was good.
“Our two halves again were good, they’re doing a job for us week in week out. But it was right across the board. Jake Emmitt and Martin Aspinwall’s contributions were really good. Willie Isa is getting better and better every game and it’s good to see him get a couple of tries.”