Powell ready to unleash Blair
CASTLEFORD TIGERS COACH DARYL POWELL IS READY TO PITCH NEW SIGNING CHEYSE BLAIR STRAIGHT IN FOR HIS BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE DEBUT AGAINST IN-FORM WARRINGTON WOLVES ON FRIDAY.
Blair, the club’s latest acquisition – from Melbourne Storm, has been in the country barely 48 hours but, with gaps in his side’s threequarter line caused by injury, Powell admits his hand is forced.
“It’s tough but it’s do-able,” Powell said. “We haven’t got the luxury of allowing him to watch a couple of games.
“He’s been desperate to get over here and taste what it’s about and he’ll probably play some part in the game.”
Already without centre Michael Shenton, the Tigers have now lost winger James Clare and are still without six senior forwards as their injury toll shows little sign of easing.
“We’re doing it tough with injuries but character comes from going through tough situations and I think we’re showing a lot of that at the moment,” said Powell.
“I’ve seen teams fold going through the type of injury situation we’ve got. We’re not doing that but the key is to start winning games.”
Castleford hope to avoid a third successive defeat for the first time since 2016 against opponents who won 24-10 in the reverse fixture in March and have racked up 104 points in their last two matches to stay close on the heels of leaders St Helens.
“They’re in good form,” Powell said. “They have limited injuries at the moment so all the players are there.
“It’s a tough challenge for us and we need to front up to it.
“I thought we competed really well against them last time, when we also had a lot of players missing.”
Elsewhere on Friday, Hull FC and Wakefield Trinity will seek to maintain their push for a top-five finish when they take on Catalans Dragons and Huddersfield Giants respectively, while Leeds Rhinos aim to complete the double over Salford Red Devils.
The Rhinos achieved their biggest win of the season at the AJ Bell Stadium in February but full-back Jack Walker, who scored a hat-trick of tries in a 46-14 triumph, misses the return trip with a hamstring injury.
Leeds have a ready-made replacement in Tonga and former New Zealand international Tui Lolohea, who has already been switched from stand-off to full-back four times this season in the absence of Walker.
New signing Ava Seumanufagai, who arrived in the country on Wednesday, has not been named in coach Dave Furner’s initial squad.
Salford have prop Gil Dudson back from injury and fellow front rower Adam Walker is also in contention as they seek a first home win since February.