CONTROVERSIAL HALF-BACK Rangi Chase has returned to training with Castleford Tigers, but will have to wait for a recall to the team.
Chase was dropped last week over a disciplinary issue and without him Tigers turned on the style to thrash Leeds Rhinos 66-10.
The 2011 Man of Steel played in Tigers’ first two games of the season, but boss Daryl Powell said he had “taken himself out” of the side and can’t expect to walk straight back in.
“The team played exceptionally well last week,” Powell said.
“If you take yourself out of it, for whatever reason, then there’s a process for getting back into it.
“That has not been completed yet so we’ll see how that goes over the coming weeks.”
Another stand-off, Ben Roberts, is available for Sunday’s trip to Widnes Vikings after missing two games due to a groin injury, though Powell has not yet decided whether to recall him.
Paul McShane, a specialist hooker, had an outstanding game last week and Powell admitted Chase has “probably” slipped down the pecking order.
“He has trained well this week,” he added of the New Zealand-born former England pivot.
“He’s just got to do that consistently over weeks and then the opportunity will come and it’s about taking it.
“We have a talented group of half-backs here.
“You see Paul McShane slot in there last week and look like an accomplished half-back so the last thing you want to do in this team is take yourself out of it as getting back into it might be quite hard.”
Tigers will travel to Widnes looking for a fourth successive win, against a team who gained their first point with a draw at Catalans Dragons last weekend.
Despite the sides’ contrasting form, Powell insisted Vikings are a threat – particularly on their artificial pitch.
“It will be a tough game,” predicted the Cas coach.
“It always is going over there.
“It’s a different surface and they’ve had a really good performance over in France, but we’re mindful of playing well again and doing that every time we take to the field.
“We don’t want to get over-confident, but we do want to play with the confidence that is getting us performances at the moment.”
Tigers began Betfred Super League round four as the competition’s top scorers, but four teams have conceded fewer points.
“We’ve been looking to improve our defence for the past three years,” Powell admitted.
“You want to have an outstanding defensive team while maintaining your ability to attack.
“I don’t think one should detract from the other.
“We’ve never quite been able to get that, but I am looking forward to seeing the guys play again. They are training exceptionally well and I think it’s exciting seeing our guys go and perform.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to do that again this week. We know they [Widnes] will come out at us heavy at the start – I think they were 18-0 up against us last year and we had to claw our way back into the game which we eventually won.
“Hopefully we’ll be quick out of the blocks this time, which we have done really well so far.”