Castleford Tigers star Luke Dorn will be pleased if his side finishes above tomorrow’s opponents Leeds Rhinos in the Super League table as he expects the champions to come with a late run this season when they have all their players back.
Dorn is surprised to see the Rhinos at the bottom of the table ahead of this week’s derby game, but says it is all down to the difficulties they have had putting out a settled side.
He said: “I know they are not where they want to be right now, but If we finish above Leeds we will be in a good place.
“I can see them making a charge once they get their international players back.
“Their injured patrol is well documented and quite significant in terms of the quality of player they’ve had out.
“You could nearly make a starting line-up out of the players they don’t have playing.
“Their continuity has suffered, not being able to have the same guys they practised with all pre-season. Someone in, someone out, that’s probably been the big thing with them.
“Obviously without harping on about it, it’s been written to death all through the season, the loss of those three senior players at the end of last season is huge.
“When you are struggling and a little bit down those guys would have been quite handy to pull everybody out.
“They wouldn’t have been able to pick it much worse than that, having all those guys retiring in one big hit and then losing probably all the guys that are probably next in line to lead the team had made a huge dent in their leadership.
“It’s really put their young guys under a lot of duress, but every cloud has a silver lining and these guys are going to come out the other side having a lot of experience. Long term it will be something they will be able to draw on.
“There’s probably a lot of things, but they’re too good a team to stay where they are and I don’t think it’s going to remain that way especially when they start some of their quality international players back. I think we will see a completely different Leeds team.”
Dorn, who is in the squad for the Rhinos game after overcoming a severe hamstring tear, is looking forward to making his return in a big game at Headingley.
He said: “It’s always big against Leeds no matter what squad you put out or what time of year it is.
“Whenever you go to Headingley or they come to our place it’s always got that bit of a different feeling.
“We always have good games against them. We both play a fairly open attacking style of rugby really.
“Everybody is excited and looking forward to playing at Leeds this week.”
Dorn has plenty of fond memories of playing at Headingley, which he admits is one of his favourite grounds.
He added: “We’ve won the last two over at Headingley and I still have great memories of playing there for London.
“The fans are fiercely loyal, but not overly nasty in terms of some of the crowds you get that can be quite brutal with some of the things. Leeds are always jovial and light hearted, but are always great supporters of their team.
“Those last two wins we’ve had over there have been good. We’ve played some real close games with them, I think we drew with them over there the year before.
“I’ve had some wins in my London days as well as some monumental defeats, but it’s always great memories of playing there because it’s a special place to go.”