SUSPENDED CASTLEFORD Tigers hooker Paul McShane is counting down the days until his eagerly-awaited return to action.
McShane will complete a three-game ban when Tigers play host to Wakefield Trinity tonight and is eligible to make his comeback away to Catalans Dragons on Easter Monday.
The former Wakefield hooker was suspended for using an elbow/forearm on Richie Myler when Tigers lost at another of his old clubs, Leeds Rhinos, at the end of last month.
In that game Tigers hit back from 20-4 down to level the scores in the closing stages, but were beaten by a golden point drop-goal in extra-time.
In the 80th minute McShane had an opportunity to pass to Jake Trueman, who was set to kick a one-pointer, but opted to go for the line instead and was tackled.
All that gives him huge motivation to come back firing for the second part of Tigers’ Easter double-header.
“I feel as though I let the lads down,” he admitted.
“I think I missed the opportunity for us to win the game and (the incident with Myler) was just reckless, no way was it intentional.
“I would not intentionally do that, but I deserved to get what I got. There was no intention there, but if I didn’t do that I could be helping my teammates out now.”
McShane stressed: “Monday can’t come quick enough for me. My body is feeling a lot better now, I was carrying a couple of knocks before it.
“I want to make up for lost time and do my best for the team. I can’t wait to get back out there with the lads.”
Adam Milner is set to continue as hooker tonight and McShane reckons he and youngster Jacques O’Neill have done a fine job standing in.
“It’s only three years ago Adz moved from 13 so it’s not new to him,” he pointed out.
“It’s something he just needs to get back accustomed to.
“I think against Wigan he was outstanding – to play 80 minutes – and against Huddersfield I thought he put a good shift in again.
“It’s good he is that versatile and Jacques has been chomping at the bit to get a game in.
“I think he just had to be patient and when he comes in he offers the team something.
“He has got great energy and he’s a tough kid. For him now he just needs to keep learning and appreciate being out there.”
Despite four defeats in their last six games Tigers remain third in Betfred Super League, ahead of Trinity on points difference.
“If you can get a result or two in this period it can have a big bearing on the ladder,” McShane said of the Easter schedule.
“Everyone’s close and we are playing teams in and around us so I think it’s a massive focus for us to be at our best.
“Wakefield deserve to be up there, they’ve been outstanding – one of the best teams this year, especially with the ball.
“We are under no illusions, it is going to be a tough game on Thursday.”