Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell hopes the signing of Rangi Chase will give him a selection headache of the right kind next season.
If Chase proves a success on his return to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle to trigger an option to give him a contract beyond the end of this season it would leave Powell with a dilemma of who to play at half-back in 2017 with Chase in competition with Luke Gale and Ben Roberts when he returns from his lengthy injury lay-off.
But Powell is looking forward to having the problem, saying it would be a big contrast to this year when he has had no experienced half-backs to call on at times.
He said: “Competition for places is awesome.
“Rangi can play different positions, he can play full-back, Benny Roberts can play full-back. We’ve got Greg Eden, he can play wing, he can play full-back.
“I’ve never been big on just having one player in a certain position. It’s competition for places.
“I’ll take that problem over the one I’ve got at the moment, every single day of the week.
“We’ve had a lot of combinations playing at half-back and no half-backs playing at half-back so it’s been a difficult year.
“We lost another three last week so we’ve got something like 12 blokes sat on their backsides at the minute, which has made life really difficult for us.
“We started off the season superbly and we’ve been rattled consistently by injury throughout the year.
“I thought it had abated at one point, but last week showed us it’s probably not going to do that so we’ve got a tough battle on our hands and we need to fight our way out of the situation we’re in at the moment.”
The signing of Chase looks to have pushed on-loan Ryan Hampshire further down the pecking order at Cas, but Powell has challenged the young half-back to keep working to win a place in the team.
He added: “Ryan’s working hard to get into the team.
“Regardless of Rangi coming in he hasn’t been getting in the team so he’s got to continue to work hard to show us what he’s got to get in there, which is hard when you haven’t got a reserve team because you can’t play anywhere.
“So all he can is practice hard and get his nose in there.
“He’s contracted to Wigan so at the moment that’s his future.”