Castleford Tigers chief Powell hails influence of captain ‘fantastic’ Michael Shenton
COACH DARYL Powell has paid tribute to Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton ahead of his testimonial game tomorrow.
Shenton will return from an ankle injury suffered in April last year when Tigers play host to promoted Toronto Wolfpack exactly two weeks before the teams meet in Betfred Super League round one.
Shenton made his Tigers debut in 2004 and has been captain since 2012 when he returned from a two-season spell at St Helens.
“He has been fantastic,” Powell said of Shenton’s influence on Tigers. “He had a little period at Saints, but other than that he has been all Castleford; he grew up through the system and he has been incredible as a player, as a leader he has grown and he has been fantastic as a captain.
“He is a great professional, lives and breathes the game and it is really fitting he has got a testimonial.
“Hopefully it will be fantastically well supported.”
Powell confirmed Shenton is now fully fit following his long lay off. He said: “He is fine, he has had a really good pre-season.
“He has hardly missed anything and it’ll be good for him to get out there.
“This game is obviously a really important one for him and I think everyone’s excited for Shenny and for us looking towards the season ahead.”
Powell has named his strongest-available side and said Tigers won’t be keeping their powder dry, despite the looming league meeting with Wolfpack.
“Obviously there’ll be some thought into how we go about our game, but we will be working on what we’ve practiced,” he insisted.
“I don’t think you can hold too much back. One thing we will get is a look at some of their players, they are newly-promoted so it gives us a look at them.”
Dual-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams is expected to make his Wolfpack debut and Powell added: “It’s great for rugby league that he is over here and playing in Super League and great for Michael Shenton that he’ll be playing in this game.
“I am looking forward to seeing him, like everybody else will be. It is our main pre-season hit out and hopefully there’s an awesome crowd and an awesome atmosphere and Sonny Bill gets to see what we’re all about.”
New signings Sosaia Feki and George Griffin are both set to make their first appearance for Tigers, but Mike McMeeken, Alex Foster and Junior Moors are unavailable due to injury. Liam Watts is also on the casualty list, but expected to be fit for round one.
Meanwhile, Tigers’ squad numbers for this season have been announced. New signings Derrell Olpherts (2), Feki (5), Danny Richardson (7) and Griffin (16) all take a spot in the first 17, but James Clare (from two to 21), Greg Eden (five to 25), Moors (16 to 20) and Matt Cook (18 to 23) drop down the pecking order.
Tigers’ 2020 squad numbers are: 1 Jordan Rankin (last year Peter Mata’utia), 2 Derrell Olpherts (James Clare), 3 Peter Mata’utia (Greg Minikin), 4 Michael Shenton, 5 Sosaia Feki (Greg Eden), 6 Jake Trueman, 7 Danny Richardson (Luke Gale), 8 Liam Watts, 9 Paul McShane, 10 Grant Millington, 11 Oliver Holmes, 12 Mike McMeeken, 13 Adam Milner, 14 Nathan Massey, 15 Jesse Sene-Lefao, 16 George Griffin (Junior Moors), 17 Alex Foster, 18 Cheyse Blair (Matt Cook), 19 Daniel Smith (Ben Roberts), 20 Junior Moors (Jamie Ellis), 21 James Clare (Mitch Clark), 22 Jacques O’Neill (vacant), 23 Matt Cook (Will Maher), 24 Tyla Hepi (Cory Aston), 25 Greg Eden (Tuoyo Egodo), 26 Calum Turner (Kieran Gill), 27 Lewis Peachey (Calum Turner), 28 Brad Graham (Lewis Peachey), 29 Joe Summers (Jacques O’Neill), 30 Robbie Storey.
Castleford Tigers (v Toronto Wolfpack): from Blair, Clare, Eden, Feki, Griffin, Hepi, Holmes, Massey, Mata’utia, McShane, Millington, Milner, O’Neill, Olpherts, Peachey, Rankin, Richardson, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Trueman.
Referee: Tom Grant (Leeds).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 2pm.