All systems go as Castleford Tigers gear up for surprise set-to with Wigan Warriors

Castleford Tigers are “preparing as well as we can” for Saturday's short-notice meeting with Wigan Warriors at Warrington.

Thursday, 27th August 2020, 4:45 pm
Daryl Powell. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Fixtures were revised after three Catalans Dragons players and a member of staff returned positive tests for coronavirus following last weekend’s win over Wakefield Trinity in the Coral Challenge Cup.

Tigers were originally due to play Toronto Wolfpack, but given a bye after the Canadian club withdrew from Betfred Super League.

Clubs with a bye have been warned to stay on stand-by in case of a late change due to Covid-19 and Tigers stepped in as Wigan’s opponents on Tuesday.

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Jake Trueman could return for Tigers this weekend. Picture by Tony Johnson.

That means they won’t have successive weekends without a game, but coach Daryl Powell admitted the short notice is not ideal.

“We had asked the players to have a look at Salford [who Castleford face next Thursday],” Powell said. “We watched their previous game against Hull and then one of our players - Adam Milner - said he’d heard a rumour about Catalans players unfortunately testing positive.

“We quickly then got the news we’d be playing Wigan. We are getting a lot thrown at us at the moment and we just have to get on with it, but it’s not the easiest season to prepare for, that’s for sure.”

It is the third time Tigers have been affected by a Covid outbreak at another club. Two weeks ago their opponents changed from Hull to St Helens after positive tests at the East Yorkshire side, which also forced last weekend’s Cup tie to be postponed.

Dan Smith is available for the first time since March. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Powell added: “The difficulty is you don’t know who you are playing - and half the time when you are playing as well - so it is really difficult for players to get themselves in their head space and difficult for coaches to prepare.

“It is really important we focus on ourselves as much as we can while also making sure there’s an awareness of what the opposition are going to throw at you.

“That has just been made a little bit more awkward by the way things are going at the moment, but there’s not a lot we can do about it.

“It is unprecedented times and we just have to get on with it, prepare as well as we can and hope everybody stays healthy.”

Dan Smith is set to return from a calf injury this weekend and Jake Trueman (back) is also available after missing the loss to St Helens.

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