Returning Castleford trio earn praise

Super League XXI Castleford v Catalans -
Super League XXI Castleford v Catalans -

Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell praised the players who came into the side and played a big part in the 38-24 win over Catalans Dragons.

With outside backs Joel Monaghan, Jake Webster, Michael Shenton, Jy Hitchcox and Paddy Flynn all unavailable Powell recalled young centre Greg Minikin and drafted in Ryan Hampshire to play in an unfamiliar wing position – and both responded with excellent displays with Hampshire scoring two tries.

Frankie Mariano also returned to the side as one of the interchanges and marked his first team comeback with a stunning solo try.

“The players who came in did a good job,” said Powell.

“Frankle Mariano coming back for us was a big plus and he scored a nice try.

“Ryan Hampshire fitted in on the wing and played really well there. I was pleased with how he handled that situation.

“Greg Minikin played well. He was unlucky when I left him out at Salford, it was a little bit of horses for courses with Crooksy, but he is playing well and improving all the time.

“There’s obviously loads of development in him, but for his first year, stepping up two divisions, I think he’s done an outstanding job.”

Powell was pleased with the efforts of his forwards to counter the notoriously massive Catalans pack.

He said: “The pack did a great job. The fight and energy when we had the ball was one of the best we’ve had all season.

“We handled things really well. We conceded a soft try late on, but I thought for the vast majority of the game our pack was the best of the two.”

Rangi Chase was not considered fit enough to make his return to the Cas side, but Paul McShane stood in at half-back and impressed once more.

Powell added: “Paul is a good player isn’t he? He did some smart things.

“Obviously he’s a hooker, but whenever he’s been in there in the halves he’s done pretty well. It’s been tough for him, playing in different positions, but it’s what we’ve needed from people this year, just to slot in and do a job.

“You might be in an unfamiliar position, but you have just got to get on with it and do what’s needed for the team, that’s the most important thing. In general the boys have done that.”