Castleford Tigers: Injury-hit Tigers are falling like ninepins

Castleford Tigers' Frankie Mariano suffered a knee injury in May and has now been ruled out for the rest of the season with suspected broken ribs.
Castleford Tigers' Frankie Mariano suffered a knee injury in May and has now been ruled out for the rest of the season with suspected broken ribs.
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Back-row forward Frankie Mariano has become the ninth Castleford player to be ruled out for the rest of the season.

The former Wakefield player, who played only one game in the first five months of the season because of knee trouble, suffered a rib injury in the Tigers’ 14-11 defeat at Warrington last Saturday and rejoins what coach Daryl Powell says is the worst injury crisis he can recall in his career.

“Frankie has gone for the season,” Powell said. “We think he might have broken ribs and damaged rib cartilage and that’s really painful. He needs further checks but he won’t play again this year.”

Powell has also confirmed that prop Andy Lynch will not play again this season after breaking a leg in May and undergoing hand surgery on Monday.

“His leg hasn’t healed as quickly as we thought it might do so we made the decision for him to have the operation on his hand now,” he said.

Winger Joel Monaghan (shoulder), stand-off Ben Roberts (foot), loose-forward Nathan Massey (hand), prop Lee Jewitt (knee), winger Jy Hitchcox (knee), full-back Ash Robson (knee) and stand-off Tom Holmes (shoulder) are the other players sidelined until 2017, but centres Ben Crooks and Jake Webster and second-rower Mike McMeeken could be back for Castleford’s next match against Wakefield on Sunday week.

Powell says captain Michael Shenton, who has been out with a knee injury sustained in the opening game of the season, has a chance of making his comeback before the end of the campaign.

“We are just taking it week by week with Shenny now,” he said. “He is building up his training and starting to do contact work.

“Really it’s just a fluid situation with him but we’ll wait and see if and when he is right to play. Obviously we need to make sure he goes through all the things that he needs to and we’ll make a decision down the track.”

Despite their injuries, the Tigers still have a chance of finishing fifth in Super League and Powell believes the future is bright for his team.

“We’ve had minimal team selection issues this year due to the injuries and it’s been difficult but there have been players who’ve gained some great experience this year that will help us as we move into pre season,” he said.

“If you look at our squad and where it is at, we have a deep squad, but it has been made deeper by what has happened to us this year and the experience players like Greg Minikin and Will Maher have gained.

“They’ll potentially play more games for us this season and the future is bright for us. There is a great deal of confidence in the team that we can do something special with this group of players and I’m looking forward to what’s in front of us.”

Meanwhile, former Leeds Rhinos player Alex Foster will move to the Bradford Bulls on a two-year contract at the end of this season.

Foster was sent out on loan to London and Featherstone Rovers before signing with the Broncos at the end of last season.

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

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