THE BEAST will be unleashed when Castleford Tigers’ powerhouse winger Justin Carney returns from injury this weekend.
The 25-year-old hasn’t played since suffering a dislocated shoulder in Tigers’ final home game of last season, a 44-30 win over Salford City Reds on September 1.
Carney’s hat-trick in that game took his try tally to 21 in just 20 appearances for Castleford. He is set to start out of position at centre in Sunday’s pre-season game at home to Kingstone Press Championship One outfit York City Knights (1pm) – and Carney warned he won’t be holding back just because it is a trial match against lower-league opponents.
“I am going out there to win,” he said. “I don’t know about anyone else’s mentality, but that’s mine – play to win.
“You play your best no matter who you’re against or what the game is. I am going out there to win and I’m pretty sure all the other boys are too, because we’ve got to start getting a roll on. It is an important year for Cas.”
Despite making his name at Cas as a winger Carney is relishing a chance to play in the centres.
He said: “I wouldn’t mind having a go there.
“I thought I played my best footy there in the NRL. It has been a long time since I’ve played there, but we’ll see how it goes.
“I’ll give it my best shot. You’ve got to do what’s best for the team and if that means me moving at different times during the year that’s up to Daryl (Powell, Tigers’ coach). No matter where I’m playing I’m going to put my best foot forward.”
Carney is confident his shoulder has fully heeled.
“It is all good,” he reported. “I am feeling strong. It was a mild one, not as bad as it could have been, but still a big setback.
“It was a disappointing way to finish the season, but these things happen and you have to move forward. I’m fully-fit so that’s the main thing.”
Carney joined Tigers last pre-season from Sydney Roosters in his native Australia.
It was a tough first campaign in England with Tigers finishing 12th out of 14 in Super League, but Carney expects better this term.
“It is unbelievable this year, compared to where we were last year,” he stated.
“There’s some real professionalism in the group and the boys are really tight.
“We were last year, but this time we are all playing for each other and helping each other out.
“Daryl’s one of the boys, but he’s still got authority too.
“The team itself is spot on. We are still new to each other and it’ll take a few games to get rolling a bit, but I think we’ll go real good. We will be really competitive. Bringing in players like Andy Lynch and Luke Dorn, they are experienced players and you can gain from what they’ve learned.
“We are really looking forward to it as a group, we are training well and the ball’s in our court now.”
Meanwhile, former scrum-half Ryan Sheridan has rejoined Tigers as player performance manager and Under-19s coach.
Sheridan played with Powell at Sheffield Eagles and Leeds Rhinos and had a season at Tigers in 2004.
He was on the coaching staff at Dewsbury Rams before working as Powell’s assistant at Featherstone and had a short stint as caretaker-coach there last season.