Castleford Tigers: Ben Roberts is relishing role reversal with Tigers

Ben Roberts.
Ben Roberts.
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SWITCHING TO full-back does not worry Castleford Tigers’ World Cup star Ben Roberts.

The Samoan international is set to start the season in the No 1 role as replacement for 2017 Man of Steel nominee Zak Hardaker.

Daryl Powell.

Daryl Powell.

Hardaker remains provisionally suspended following a positive drugs test and is not expected to figure in Tigers coach Daryl Powell’s plans this year.

Roberts played at stand-off during last season’s surge to the Betfred Super League leaders’ shield and the title decider against Leeds Rhinos, but has slotted in successfully at full-back in the past.

“I had a good chat with Powelly about a week after the Grand Final and we discussed me playing full-back so it’s something I’ve known about for a while,” he revealed.

“He asked my opinion and I’m happy to take on the challenge.

Zak Hardaker.

Zak Hardaker.

“It’s not going to be easy, I know that.

“It’s going to take some hard work, but I’m willing to do that.

“I’ve played there before and I haven’t lost a game at full-back so that’s pretty good stat to have!”

Roberts reckons reverting to full-back will give him “the opportunity to showcase my skill a little bit more”, but admitted the role is a challenge.

“At the same time you’ve got to be a lot fitter to do that,” he added.

“My conditioning levels have got to be a lot more than if I was in the halves so I’m working hard on that.

“Daryl’s smart and he knows what I’m capable of and what my strengths and weaknesses are so there might be a few things in our game we might just have to tweak a bit, just to sort of help me out there, but I wouldn’t think there would be too much difference.”

Tigers’ first-team squad were flying to Lanzarote today for a warm-weather training camp, which Roberts described as “pretty important”.

He said: “Obviously we got a lot out of it last year.

“A few new faces have come into the squad from other teams and we’ve got a few from the under-19s so it’s good opportunity to get to know each other on a personal level.”