Castleford Tigers will be without Ben Roberts for the Magic Weekend after the in-form stand-off was not included in Daryl Powell’s 19-man squad to take on Leeds Rhinos at Newcastle’s St James’ Park.
The match will kick off at 5.30pm on Sunday as the Tigers close out a weekend of Rugby League entertainment.
Head coach Powell makes two changes to the 19-man squad that beat St Helens in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup last week with Rangi Chase having left the club and Roberts dropping out.
Young half-back Tom Holmes gets another chance to impress, having played in the Tigers previous two games against the Saints and Huddersfield Giants. Centre Kieran Gill is also recalled to the 19-man squad.
Tigers full-back, Zak Hardaker, meanwhile will face a late fitness test as he continues his recovery following last week’s ankle injury that saw him leave the field against St Helens.
Powell knows his side will need to be on their game as they take on the Rhinos: “I’m really looking forward to the Magic Weekend, I think it is a great concept with all the teams playing in the same place over one weekend. We have been outstanding in the last few years at Magic and we will be looking to do a great job against a highly motivated Leeds team.
“Unfortunately, Ben Roberts is just short of being fit for this game due to a reoccurrence of a groin injury in last week’s game against St. Helens. We are hopeful that he will be available for Friday’s game against Widnes.”
Greg Minikin will take part in his first Magic Weekend this week and is looking forward to the game: “I played in the Summer Bash last year but I reckon it won’t be quite the same. Hopefully we’ll bring a big following and Leeds will do the same, and with all the other supporters too, hopefully it’ll be a really good game.
“I’ve heard a few people say Leeds owe us after last time but we’ll expect them to come out firing.
“We’ll have to be on top of our game to get the win this weekend. We played well that night; they were off and it was a highlight of our year to date but we want to do it again this weekend against them.”
Castleford are taking close to 4,000 fans to Newcastle, but a limited number of Category 2 Day tickets are still available at the Tigers Den in Carlton Lanes. You can check updated availability by calling 01977 552499.
The Tigers squad is:
18. Matt Cook
5. Greg Eden
7. Luke Gale
26. Kieran Gill
1. Zak Hardaker
23. Tom Holmes
34. Alex Foster
8. Andy Lynch
14. Nathan Massey
12. Mike McMeeken
9. Paul McShane
10. Grant Millington
2. Greg Minikin
13. Adam Milner
17. Junior Moors
15. Jesse Sene-Lefao
19. Gadwin Springer
4. Michael Shenton
3. Jake Webster