CLASSY Ben Roberts insists he’ll play anywhere for Castleford Tigers but he put a marker down for his preferred No6 role with an impressive display to help down in-form Hull KR.
The Samoa stand-off had previously struggled to find his rhythm since moving from Melbourne Storm last winter.
But his attacking threat was obvious when – preferred to Liam Finn for the second game running – he came up with some killer plays to secure successive wins for Daryl Powell’s side. Given he was a regular in the NRL last term, there was some surprise Roberts did not start the season alongside Luke Gale, who was influential again as Rovers’ three-match winning run was brought to a shuddering halt.
But Finn earned that initial shot on the back of his achievements with Tigers in 2014 and a fine pre-season meaning the new arrival has had to be patient.
Saturday was only Roberts’ third start at six having spent much of the year coming off the bench at hooker. And he admitted: “That has been different and something unexpected.
“But any way I can help the team out I don’t mind where I play. Personally I really struggled Monday with my kicking so I definitely have to improve that as kicking plays a big part in our game here.
“But I’ll keep working with Powelly, Shez (Ryan Sheridan) and Danny (Orr) and I am still working on my game over here.
“As long as I keep improving on my performance, though, I’m heading in the right direction. The boys certainly did that against Hull KR as one part of our game where we’d struggled this year is stringing together back-to-back wins so credit to them.”
It would be a surprise if Roberts did not start at six again at Widnes on Sunday given the way he helped create first-half tries for Jordan Tansey and Gale.
Nathan Massey – central to a brilliant pack performance – then marked his 100th Super League appearance with a rare try as an 18-4 interval lead was established.
Rovers had opened the scoring via Ken Sio’s ninth try of the campaign in the fourth minute but they were never allowed to build any real further pressure given the command of Castleford’s forwards, with Andy Lynch and Frankie Mariano joining Massey in relentlessly powering away. Hull KR stand-off Terry Campese has arguably been Super League’s top stand-off so far but he grew increasingly frustrated as Powell’s side limited his options, subsequently denying the visitors a fourth successive win.
The only negative for Tigers, who rose above Rovers into fifth with Mariano’s surging try clinching victory after Gale’s drop goal on the hour, was a dislocated elbow for prolific winger Justin Carney early in the second half.
Powell revealed there was fragments of broken bone in the Australian’s arm, too, so he is expected to be sidelined for some time.
Castleford: Tansey; Gibson, Channing, Shenton, Carney; Robert, Gale; Lynch, Moore, Wheeldon, Holmes, Mariano, Massey. Subs (all used): Milner, Millington, Jewitt, Boyle.
Hull KR: Dixon; Sio, Goulding, Welham, Mantellato; Campese, Kelly; Walker, Lunt, Allgood, Larroyer. Horne, McCarthy. Subs (all used): Cockayne, Ollett, Green, Burke.
Referee: Ben Thaler.