GREG Eden is poised to make his Super League debut for Castleford Tigers in tonight’s match against leaders Warrington Wolves at Probiz Coliseum.
The 20-year-old three-quarter gets his chance after Castleford were hit by more injuries in last Saturday’s 54-20 defeat at Catalan Dragons.
Kirk Dixon (ankle) and Jordan Thompson (quad) both miss tomorrow’s game after being injured in Perpignan.
Nick Youngquest (dead leg) and Willie Isa (ankle) are also still sidelined.
Eden made his Tigers first-team debut last month in the 72-10 Carnegie Challenge Cup win against Championship One side Rochdale Hornets.
Tigers coach Terry Matterson (pictured) said: “Greg is going to get his opportunity against one of the best teams in the competition so that should be exciting for him. He’s earned his spot and we are looking forward to seeing him play.
“Ideally, you’d probably like to stagger the youngsters a little bit more. We’ve had a lot of them in the team this season but that’s where we are at and it’s a chance for Greg.
“He has been outstanding in the under 20s and in the nines so he deserves his opportunity.
“Greg is a little bit older than some of our other young players - he’s 21 this year - and he’s a little bit more mature in his physique and in his head as well so he’s probably going to be more ready than some of the other guys.
“It’s going to be very difficult to get Nick Youngquest back for the next two matches. We are targeting the Bradford Bulls match (July 10) to have him back and hopefully Jordan Thompson and Kirk Dixon as well.”
Castleford’s 19-man squad for tonight’s game is:
Arundel, Chase, Clark, Eden, Emmitt, Fozzard, Ferres, Holmes, Hudson, Jackson, McGoldrick, Jones, Mathers, Massey, Milner, Orr, Owen, Snitch, Widders.
The clash with Warrington is the first of two fixtures in five days for the Tigers who visit champions Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium next Wednesday evening.
Matterson is looking for a much impoved defensive display tonight after last weekend’s hammering in France.
After drawing 22-22 with Wigan at home earlier this month and then winning 15-8 at Salford City Reds, the Tigers slipped up badly by conceding 10 tries against in-form Catalan.
Matterson said: “You could say that in Catalan, Warrington and Wigan we are playing the three form sides in the competition back to back, with two of the fixtures away, and in a short space of time.
“We’ve got to deal with it and we need to get a performance on Friday night. We were in a similar place a few weeks ago before the Wigan game.
“We need a reaction. We understand it’s not going to be easy but we showed against Wigan that we can compete with the best teams and we need our best performance on Friday against Warrington.
“With bodies on the ground it’s not going to get any easier but there are two ways you can deal with it. You can feel sorry for yourself or the way I look at it is that there’s an opportunity for other people and Greg Eden is going to be playing. What we need also is a reaction from the other guys.
“We enjoy playing at home and teams don’t enjoy coming here. We need to defend like we had the previous two weeks against Salford and Wigan when we rolled up our sleeves and worked really hard.
“If we turn up and don’t want to put our bodies on the line and take the soft option like we did in Perpignan, it’s going to be a long night against Warrington.
“Strong defence helps you with your attack as well. If your mentality isn’t to get your body in and win tackles it’s not going to help you when you carry the ball.
“Our defence is the area that has to get better. We are leaking too many points.”
Matterson felt his side’s defence was “soft” against Catalan.
“We had high hopes going there but we didn’t handle the heat very well,” he said.
“It was about 35 or 36 degrees and Catalan certainly handled it a lot better. It was something our young players hadn’t experienced before and they struggled. When a few of them came in from the warm up they looked visibly distressed.
“We have four or five young guys in the team and that took a toll. They struggled a bit and when they are not on their game it puts a lot of pressure on the senior guys and makes it difficult for them.
“However, the weather was a reality and it was something we had to deal with and we are not using it as an excuse.
“The whole team just weren’t there defensively. The opposition were better than us in all areas and we didn’t handle some of the adversity we faced.
“There was a period in the first-half when they scored three tries in six minutes and in the second-half they did the same again in a spell when we didn’t touch the ball. We were soft defensively against a very good side.”
Tigers skipper Danny Orr, who was 33 last month, is set to continue playing next year. He rejoined the club from Harlequins during the close-season on a one-year deal.
“I don’t think Danny will take much persuading to keep playing. I don’t know where the club are with it but I can’t see it being a problem,” said Matterson.
“He is enjoying being back here and he’s enjoying the rugby. I think he’s doing a really good job for us and he covers a couple of positions. He’s a worker and a good talker and he’s good to have around the place.”
There has been speculation Australian and English clubs are interested in signing Castleford’s star half-back Rangi Chase but Matterson said: “It’s speculation and that’s all it is. The bottom line is that Rangi has still got two and half years left on his contract at this club.”
Gateshead Thunder have signed Castleford’s 19-year-old prop Clarke Thompson on a dual registration. He has joined fellow front rower Jonathan Payne at Gateshead.
Castleford’s Super League match against Crusaders at Wrexham on Saturday, July 16 (6.45pm kick-off) will be shown live on Sky TV.