CASTLEFORD Tigers’ Joel Monaghan admits he is unsure whether he will be fit in time for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final against Wigan Warriors due to a hamstring injury.
The Australian wing/centre pulled up during Sunday’s 24-22 loss against Hull FC and is now a doubt for their crucial game at DW Stadium.
His experience and strike threat will be vital if Daryl Powell’s side are to take a step closer to a second Wembley appearance in three years.
But Monaghan conceded: “I’ve only done a hammy once or twice before so I’m not sure what state it is.
“It didn’t feel too bad – I just sort of grabbed one – but we will know more during the week.
“It happened just before half-time. Then, having sat down for half-time and trying to run again, it was only going to get worse in the second half.
“We’ll get it scanned and see.”
As much as Castleford lost a fifth successive home game, the display against the Super League leaders was far better than their previous outing, the lacklustre 38-28 defeat to Widnes Vikings.
They out-scored Hull – who were missing some key players like Gareth Ellis, Sika Manu and Mark Minichiello – five tries to four but paid the price for poor goal-kicking, securing just one conversion.
Given they had the makeshift half-back partnership of prop Grant Millington and hooker Paul McShane once more, though, with scrum-half Luke Gale injured, it was an encouraging display.
“It was painful to lose as we ran them close,” admitted Monaghan, after Cas had fought back from 18-8 down to level at 18-18 on the hour. We lost our half-back and they had a few out but we gave too many penalties and too much easy ball at times. They are a good team even with those blokes missing – a big, quality side. But we showed effort to fight back and nearly snatch it. It was much improved from last week.”
Denny Solomona scored his second try of the game to make it 24-22 in the 73rd minute but Danny Tickle’s touchline conversion attempt cruelly struck a post and Castleford could not find any other answers despite some late chances.
“I was standing on the side when Ticks hit that and said ‘good strike’,” explained Monaghan, the 33-year-old taking over from Paul McShane who had missed three earlier attempts. I thought it was going over. “He’s not kicked for a while but nailed the first one from the same spot so the old boy’s still got a bit left in him.”
Castleford will hope regular goalkicker Gale is back for Saturday.
He had his foot in a protective boot on Sunday having hurt his ankle in training last week.
Monaghan, who won the Challenge Cup with Warrington Wolves in 2012, admitted: “Galey is massive for us.
“His kicking game, his control, his goal kicking is all massive.
“Hopefully it’s not too bad and we can get him back as it’s a huge game coming up.”