Trio add to Castleford’s injury woes

Fractured leg: Mike McMeeken.
Fractured leg: Mike McMeeken.

Top scorer Denny Solomona looks set to return, but Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell will be without the three players who picked up injuries in last week’s narrow defeat at Salford when he selects his side to face Catalans Dragons at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday.

Flying winger Solomona missed the 22-18 defeat at the AJ Bell Stadium, but has returned to training this week to deliver a timely boost following news of more injury disruption for the Tigers.

Back row forward Mike McMeeken is set to be out of action for two months while centre Jake Webster’s syndesmosis injury will keep him out a likely four weeks.

Outside back Joel Monaghan also had to leave the field at Salford and the club is awaiting confirmation of how long he is likely to be out.

“We are in a difficult situation, no question,” said Cas boss Powell.

“Jake Webster got injured last week, Joel Monaghan dislocated his shoulder and Mike McMeeken’s fractured his leg so those three are unavailable.

“That’s three on top of the ones we’ve already got and we’ve got a number of players who are walking wounded and haven’t trained the first two days this week.

“So we’re a little bit patched up, where we have been for a number of weeks. I thought the injury list would abate, but it’s just continued. We’ve just got to fight our way through it and stay positive.

“We’ve still got a pretty good team on the field and we’ve got to believe that they can do the job for us over the next three weeks.

“Denny has trained this week so hopefully he will be okay. Frankie Mariano could also potentially be back. He’s played two games at Batley and done okay. He was better than earlier in the season when he came back and had to have his knee cleaned up.”

With all the injuries Powell may decide to throw new signing Rangi Chase straight into the side, but wants to assess him further in training this week before deciding whether he is ready to go.

He said: “He could be in the frame for Sunday. He’s trained twice with us now and we’ve got a couple more sessions before the game.

“We’ve got a longer week this week and I’ll have a look at him and see how he is.

“He’s done a couple of tough sessions with us, but he hasn’t trained for a few months so it will be interesting to see how pulls through it.”

Powell is delighted to have Chase back at the club and is confident he is in the right frame of mind to make an impact once again at Cas, although fans may have to be patient with him while he tries to get back to his best form.

He added: “He’s a talented player, there’s no question about that, so it’s about how quickly we can get him back to playing his best rugby league.

“Looking at him I just think there’s a strong mentality about him and a real desire to be as good as he can be again.

“When I first came to the club he was looking for something else, he was looking to get away, but he was still really committed. But he’s not looking for that now, he’s looking to be back where he played his best rugby league so there’s a slightly different swing in terms of mentality.

“I think he’s not got to expect miracles from himself. He’s got to build his game and people have got to understand where he’s at – I think they will. I’m pretty confident he will get back to his best, but how much time it takes I don’t know. There’s no lack of patience, certainly not from me.”