Castleford Tigers boss eyes quick reaction from players

Dean Widders in match action. PIC: PA
Dean Widders in match action. PIC: PA
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CASTLEFORD TIGERS boss Terry Matterson will learn another valuable lesson about his team when Crusaders visit Probiz Coliseum tomorrow.

Tigers have answered most questions asked of them this year, but it remains to be seen how they will react to a defeat.

Their 100 per cent record ended away to Bradford Bulls six days ago and Matterson is anxious to see them bounce straight back.

“We have started off really well, but we had a bit of a blip last week,” he said.

“It is important we react well and get back to winning ways at home.”

Matterson has detected no dip in confidence following the 18-14 setback at Grattan Stadium, Odsal, describing his players’ reaction in training this week as “positive”.

He said: “Some people are on their toes. They are not sure whether they are going to play this week and that is good.

“They were disappointed with some of the things we did in last Sunday’s game, but we weren’t that far off.

“We want to keep that defensive performance and do a bit more with the ball. That’s an area we’ve not had too many problems with, up to last week.

“We have got to work on our composure, but we’ve been good in that area for most of the year.”

Crusaders are bottom of the table on minus two points, after having four deducted for entering administration in the off-season.

They haven’t won since the opening round, but Matterson feels they will be an attacking threat.

“We are playing against a team that’s pretty desperate,” he said. “They have been throwing the ball around and scoring plenty of points, that is not their problem.

“We know they are going to test us and they have got Jordan Tansey now, who is pretty unpredictable.

“They’ll keep us on our toes.”

Dean Widders is available after missing last weekend’s game due to a groin injury suffered in training.

Ryan Hudson – out of action since suffering a shoulder injury in round one – has been named in Tigers’ initial 19, but will undergo a fitness test today.

Paul Jackson and Danny Orr, who both picked up knocks against Bradford, have been given the all-clear.

Nineteen-year-old full-back Richard Owen has been named in Tigers’ initial squad for the first time since suffering a broken leg at Bradford 13 months ago. Second-rower Oliver Holmes drops out from last weekend’s team.

Crusaders coach Iestyn Harris will select from the players beaten by Catalan last week, plus Jamie Murphy and Tansey.

Chanting

Meanwhile, Tigers officials are anxious to avoid a repeat of the homophobic chanting aimed at Crusaders’ Gareth Thomas, which marred the Welsh club’s visit last year and cost Cas a £20,000 fine.

The RFL’s equality and diversity officer has been invited to the game as Tigers’ guest and additional measures are being taken to crack down on any anti-social behaviour.

Chief executive Richard Wright said: “We know that it was a small number of mindless fools who let the club, the town and the sport of rugby league down last year and we have taken steps

“Anybody found guilty of homophobic abuse will be banned from games indefinitely.”

● Tigers stand-off Rangi Chase was named player of the round for his performance against Bradford.

Castleford Tigers: from Mathers, Dixon, Arundel, Isa, Youngquest, Chase, Orr, Jackson, Milner, Huby, Emmitt, Ferres, Jones, Fozzard, Aspinwall, Clark, Widders, Hudson, Owen.

Crusaders: from Schifcofske, Reardon, Thomas, Mellars, Williams, Witt, Sammut, Dudson, Withers, Bryant, Lupton, Chan, Martin, Moore, White, Flower, O’Hara, Murphy, Tansey.

Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield). ‘

Kick-off: Tomorrow 3.30pm

Disgraced England star Zak Hardaker in action for Castleford Tigers. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

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