AFTER their unbeaten record went at Bradford last weekend, Castleford Tigers have received a timely boost with news that three of their injured players are on the mend.
Dean Widders and Ryan Hudson, who both missed the trip to Odsal, are back in contention for this Sunday’s home game against Crusaders at the Probiz Coliseum, while skipper Danny Orr is expected to recover in time from a shoulder injury that forced him off the field at Bradford.
Coach Terry Matterson will leave it as late as possible before naming his 19-man squad and eventual starting line-up to give all his players a chance of proving their fitness, but he expects to be picking from strength.
He told the Express: “Danny Orr had a bit of a tough day (at Bradford). They worked him over and the first tackle of the day they got to him.
“He got a couple of head knocks and he got a stinger in his shoulder. It’s nothing too serious. We’ll have a look at him later in the week, but we’re pretty sure he’ll be fine for the weekend.
“He just had a tough day at the office and that happens every now and again.
“Because of the way he plays he gets his body there, he’s brave and doesn’t shirk any work. Sometimes he probably needs to be a bit smarter for us, but that’s the way he plays and I wouldn’t want to take that out of him.
“Paul Jackson got a good whack as well, but he’s okay and everyone else has pulled up fine.
“Dean Widders should be fine for this week. He had a minor groin injury and this early in the season it probably wasn’t worth risking him so he didn‘t play last week. It ran the risk of turning into a four or five week injury.
“Steve Snitch has been ill. He lost five kilos because he had a virus last week and we’ll need to look at him later in the week.
“Ryan Hudson could be available and it’s an area I need to look at.
“He needs to get in some contact now to make sure it’s right. It was a pretty good whack on his shoulder he got against Wakefield and he got a hit again when he came back into training a couple of weeks after.
“We’ll have a bit of a test with him later in the week and he’s a chance to be in line for selection.”
Whoever makes the final 17, Matterson is looking for the players to show they can quickly put the Bradford defeat behind them and get back to the winning rugby that served them well in the first four Super League games of 2011.
He said: “We’re at home and I’d like to see a reaction, it’s what it’s all about. If players don’t play well you want to see them bounce back the week after.
“Craig Huby’s probably been our best forward, but he was unhappy with the way he went at Bradford and a couple of others were as well. I think they are looking to get back to their best form.
“It’s real important that we bounce back from our defeat last week, but Crusaders are going to be desperate as well having only won one game.
“They scored 40 points in their first game and most weeks they have scored 20 plus so they are a fairly carefree side who throw the ball around, which makes them very dangerous.
“They have a lot of guys who are unpredictable like Jarred Sammut and the new guy they’ve just bought, Jordan Tansey, and Lincoln Withers, who always pulls the strings. They are dangerous and we’ve got to be really careful.
“It’s got the makings of an open game. Hopefully the sunny weather stays around, preferably that’s how we want to play rugby, it helps get the ball moving and the teams and fans like to see that.
“Getting the mix right is the key and certainly there’s some areas we need to work on. Our composure has to be better and what we have been good on in the first four weeks is our kicking game, making sure we play the game in the right end of the field, but that certainly wasn’t a strength in our game last weekend so we are looking to get better at that and get back to what we were doing.”