Minikin backed to be centre option for Castleford

Daryl Powell has backed Greg Minikin to be the long-term replacement at centre for Jake Webster, who is leaving Castleford Tigers at the end of the season.

With Webster joining Bradford Bulls next year the Tigers have an obvious gap to fill, but are not looking to sign a centre at this point with Minikin likely to be given first crack at playing in the position he played in at York before signing for Castleford.

Castleford's Greg Minikin.

Castleford's Greg Minikin.

Tigers boss Powell explained: “We’re looking within the squad. We’re a salary cap sport and you’ve only got so much money to spend.

“A lot of our players have improved over the last few years and that then means you’re having to pay them more money so you haven’t got a massive amount of money left.

“So that’s where developing people within your squad is massively important. Greg Minikin is a player who I think deserves an opportunity to force his way into the centre position.

“We have other options as well in terms of Alex Foster and Joe Wardle and then a couple of young guys in there that need to really strive to put pressure on. We won’t be going into the market place in a big way and I believe we have got a squad that’s capable and really dangerous.”

Minikin wants to play at centre as Powell revealed: “He’s come here and got in on the wing and stayed on the wing. But centre is his preferred position.

“He’s been to see me a couple of times wanting to play in the centres and that’s up to him. He has got to prove that he can do it.

“But he has a lot of good qualities as a player. There are a couple of bits that he does need to improve and he’s had some injuries fixed up that will help him get some consistency next year.”

Minikin, meanwhile, is in contention for a place in the team for tomorrow night’s game at home to Huddersfield Giants after recovering from injury and being included in the 19-man squad.

His switch to centre will give another player a chance to nail down a place on the wing with James Clare currently in position and impressing his head coach.

Powell said: “James Clare has come in and done a great job for us. He’s really developed himself.

“There’s some other areas that he needs to work on to get better but I think he’s surprised a lot of people this year. He’s got in the team, stayed in the team, he’s been consistent and durable and done a lot of things really well. I’ve been really pleased with him.”

Full-back Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e will not be at Castleford, however, in 2019.

The 33-year-old joined Castleford Tigers from Halifax in May on a contract until the end of the current campaign. He has scored six tries in eight appearances, but has not featured in Tigers’ last four games and is not included in the 19-man squad for tomorrow’s visit of Huddersfield Giants.

Powell confirmed: “Q won’t be with us next year. With a salary-cap sport, we made a decision and we thought about Q, but we decided on a longer-term option with Peter.

“Q has been great for us and he could yet play a big part in what we’re going to do at the end of the year. He’s back fit now so the competition for places is great.”

Powell added: “I think he has got a chance [of staying in Super League] in particular with who’s going to come up.

“It looks like Widnes are going to find it really tough now and teams are generally looking for quality players who can play in Super League and potentially, depending on who that is, they may have a look at him.”