FORWARD SCOTT Wheeldon has three games to catch the eye after breaking back into Castleford Tigers’ side.
Wheeldon, who has been told he will not be offered a new contract for next season, returned from a knee injury in last week’s 40-26 loss to Huddersfield Giants.
He showed few signs of his four months on the sidelines, after starting the game at prop and is now hoping to keep his place for the final weeks of the campaign as he aims to prove he is worth a deal at a rival club.
“It has been a bit of a lengthy lay-off really,” admitted the 29-year-old former Hull, Hull KR and London Broncos pack man.
I did my mcl [medial cruciate ligament] and came back from that fine, but I’ve been struggling to get selected because the team has been doing so well and been on a bit of a roll.
“I was just glad to get back out there. It has been a bit frustrating, I’ve been knocking on the door for a few weeks now and obviously the games have been counting down.
“There’s only three games left, so it’s the wrong time of the season to come back.”
Wheeldon came through Thursday’s game unscathed. He added: “My lungs felt all right, so it’s just a case of getting use to the game time and getting into the game.”
With Will Maher and Gadwin Springer both pushing for a regular place next term, there was no room in Tigers’ squad for Wheeldon, who joined the club from London ahead of the 2014 campaign.
He has yet to secure a contract elsewhere and admitted: “I am pretty much playing for a deal.
“I’m not sorted out anywhere yet, I’m just looking round and seeing what comes up. It’s just a case of fingers crossed and keep plugging away.”
The defeat at Giants came at the end of a difficult week for Tigers.
Star winger Justin Carney has been suspended by the club for a non-rugby related matter and several players have been ill.
Tigers led 10-0 early on, but went in at the break 14 points down after conceding four tries during Mike McMeeken’s spell in the sin-bin.
Wheeldon felt the spirit they showed to cut the gap to four points in the second half was a big positive.
“We’ve put that [the Carney situation] aside and everyone’s gone really well and the spirit’s been brilliant,” he stated.
“We were determined to go out and have a really good dig.
“I thought at times we weren’t too far off, but we just let ourselves down with a few errors and daft penalties at certain times.
“We were playing against a team that don’t make many mistakes and they made it count, but there’s still three games left and we’ve still got a chance.”
Meanwhile, Tigers are considering making a bid to re-sign Rangi Chase, who has been suspended by Salford Red Devils.
Chase played for Tigers from 2009-2013 and was Man of Steel in 2011.