CASTLEFORD Tigers boss Terry Matterson insists his side can cope with the loss of star man Rangi Chase for Saturday’s key game with Crusaders.
Matterson takes his team to Wales without their talisman following the ban handed out to Chase by the RFL’s disciplinary committee.
The loss of the New Zealand stand-off – Tigers’ player of the year for the past two seasons and a leading contender for this year’s Man of Steel – is a big blow before Castleford’s “must-win” Super League clash with Crusaders, but although Chase has played in every game this season Matterson believes Cas can play well without him.
He said: “We haven’t played without Rangi all year so it will present some problems, but this is not a one-man team. I know a lot of people think it is, but we are going to have to show that’s not the case. We’re more than capable of doing that.
“Ryan McGoldrick gives us good cover. He’s been really good in the last two games both at full-back and as a stand-off. He’s got some different things to offer and I’ve been really pleased with him.
“Dean Widders has also been doing a job in a load of places for us, at stand-off and a bit of front row as well as in the second row.
“We didn’t think it was too bad what Rangi did. He was elbowed twice to the head and he’s retaliated to that. He also had a clean record.”
Chase was found guilty of committing a Grade B punching offence in the eighth minute of Sunday’s victory over Bradford.
Chase, who pleaded guilty to the charge, was also fined £300 by the disciplinary committee. But they left Cas fans angry when they let off Bradford hooker Matt Diskin with a warning letter after he was also charged with a Grade B offence of using his knees in dangerous fashion on Richard Owen in the same fixture.
Chase’s absence will force at least one change from the squad for the trip to Wrexham, but Matterson wants a repeat performance from those that do play in a game that could prove crucial to the Tigers’ aim of finishing in the top eight.
He said: “It’s another important one to win. It’s one we can win and we’re in good shape to do that. And to do it after what we’ve done in the last week is very important.
“It’s not going to be easy. They’re obviously reeling from some disciplinary issues, but all those guys left out last week are back and will want to prove a point.
“They’re playing at home, have got a lot to play for and are a long time without a win so they’re probably due. It’s important we go over there and do a professional job.
“If we don’t win this week it will take away all the good work we did last week.
“After the close loss to Wigan and the win against Bradford it will complement what we’ve been doing by getting a really good performance at Wrexham.”
Matterson is pleased to have a bigger squad to choose from this week than he did against Wigan last week when 11 first teamers were absent.
He added: “We’ve been playing busted, but having bodies back helps you.
“We haven’t been training a lot so there have been reasons for some results. But having people available and competing for positions makes a massive difference.
“We’re going to have manage some of these guys because the game last Wednesday makes it like another Easter and that extra game sometimes gets you the week after. We’ve got to be careful of that.”
Crusaders left seven players out of their side against Hull KR last week after suspending them for a breach of the club’s discipline code, while second-row Hep Cahill was serving a one match ban handed down by the RFL, but all eight are available again. However, Gareth Thomas will not play after he suffered a broken arm.