Castleford Tigers v Hull FC - let's see what the kids can do says Daryl Powell

Tyla Hepi on the charge in Tigers' recent Challenge Cup loss to Hull. Picture by Tony Johnson.Tyla Hepi on the charge in Tigers' recent Challenge Cup loss to Hull. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Tyla Hepi on the charge in Tigers' recent Challenge Cup loss to Hull. Picture by Tony Johnson.
The time is right to give Castleford Tigers’ young players a chance, coach Daryl Powell says.

Tigers will aim to pick up only their second win since the coronavirus lockdown ended when they face Hull behind closed doors at the Jungle tonight.

Rookies Lewis Peachey, Brad Graham and Brad Martin are included in Tigers’ initial 21-man squad and Powell confirmed: “We’re going to start having a look at some of our young players from here on.”

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He said: “We’ve already started that process anyway - Tyla Hepi has been great, Jacques O’Neill has been great, Jack Sanderson came in last week and was pretty solid.

“We have got some young players here who we need to test out.

“You tend to rely on your senior players and at times I think you neglect giving these young boys an opportunity to show what they can do.

“When you have got injuries it is a perfect opportunity.”

Stand-off Jake Trueman could return from a back problem and Adam Milner, Junior Moors and Matt Cook are in contention for a recall, but Liam Watts is unavailable after suffering a calf injury in training this week, Jesse Sene-Lefao (ankle) and Oliver Holmes (calf) have joined the casualty list, Derrell Olpherts is isolating after a family member contracted coronavirus and Nathan Massey (calf) is a fitness doubt.

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Key players including Danny Richardson, Peter Mata’utia and Sosaia Feki are still missing and Powell said: “It is crazy at the minute, the amount of injuries we’ve got.

“It is ridiculous and we’re just trying to get through it, it’s a real battle.”

Today’s game will be Tigers’ first on home soil since March and Powell is hopeful that will give his men a lift, even without a crowd.

“We’ve spent all our time in Lancashire, playing Yorkshire teams,” he said.

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“That has been challenging, but our next two games are at Cas and Leeds so that will be great.

“We’ve been getting home at 2am so it’s hard work for players’ recovery time especially.

“It will be great getting back down here, at a place we’re really familiar with.”

A win would revive Tigers’ hopes of a top-four finish in Betfred Super League.

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Powell feels his team aren’t far off and he said: “Our team has been decimated and it has been a rollercoaster of a ride trying to get the boys through this.

“We have been so close on a number of occasions - we are in games, we are in front, but we can’t quite maintain our standard through 80 minutes.

“That’s what we are looking for. It is tough when you’ve got young players and different combinations in there so we’ve just got to hold our nerve and we just need a win which should give us some confidence and something to build on.”

Scott Taylor has recovered from a back injury and could return for Hull.

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Marc Sneyd is also in contention, along with Jordan Johnstone, Kieran Buchanan, Lewis Bienek and Ben McNamara.

Josh Griffin and Danny Houghton drop out from the side which lost to Salford Red Devils a week ago.

Castleford Tigers: from Shenton, Trueman, McShane, Millington, McMeeken, Milner, Massey, Griffin, Blair, Moors, Clare, O’Neill, Cook, Hepi, Eden, Peachey, Graham, Martin, O’Brien, Sanderson, Fleming.

Hull: from Shaul, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Connor, Sneyd, Taylor, Satae, Ma’u, Sao, Cator, Johnson, Fash, Lane, Bowden, Savelio, Fonua, Buchanan, Bienek, Brown, Scott, McNamara.

Referee: Tom Grant (Leeds)

Kick-off: Today, 7.45pm.

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Laura Collins