Castleford Tigers forward Scott Wheeldon has retained his place in the 19-man squad for tonight’s game against St Helens and will be out to impress in a bid to win a contract for next year.
Wheeldon, 29, has endured a tough second season with the Tigers after injury saw him lose his place in the side and he has struggled to break back into it until given a chance because of a late withdrawal of the ill Oliver Holmes in last week’s game against Huddersfield Giants.
The former Hull, Hull KR and London prop has been told he will not be offered a new contract by Castleford once his current one expires at the end of this season, but with Nathan Massey now sidelined he is still needed in the remaining games this year – and based on his all action display at Huddersfield he will not let them down.
The latest chance in the team gives Wheeldon a more encouraging end to what has been a frustrating year for him.
He explained: “It was a bit of a lengthy layoff really.
“I did my mcl (medial cruciate ligament) and came back from that fine, but I’ve been struggling to get selected because the team has been doing so well and been on a bit of a roll.
“I was just glad to get back out there. It has been a bit frustrating, I’ve been knocking on the door for a few weeks now and obviously the games have been counting down.
“There’s only three games left, so it’s the wrong time of the season to come back.
“My lungs felt all right, so it’s just a case of getting use to the game time and getting into the game.”
Wheeldon came through his first team comeback game at the John Smith’s Stadium without further injury.
He admits he is now looking to impress in what remains of the season in a bid to win a contract at another club.
He said: “I am pretty much playing for a deal.
“I’m not sorted out anywhere yet, I’m just looking round and seeing what comes up. It’s just a case of fingers crossed and keep plugging away.”
Wheeldon believes there is still a chance of extending his season with Castleford reaching the play-offs and has backed other players who have said that the team spirit is still in evidence despite the internal investigation going on to determine Justin Carney’s future at the club.
He added: “We’ve put that (the Carney situation) aside and everyone’s gone really well and the spirit’s been brilliant.
“We were determined to go out and have a really good dig.
“I thought at times we weren’t too far off, but we just let ourselves down with a few errors and daft penalties at certain times.
“We were playing against a team that don’t make many mistakes and they made it count, but there’s still three games left and we’ve still got a chance.”