CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ preparations for the new season are set to move up a gear with the arrival of overseas duo Ben Roberts and Junior Moors.
Stand-off Roberts was due to arrive at Castleford today, less than two weeks after completing international duties with Samoa in their impressive Four Nations campaign.
His former Melbourne Storm team-mate Moors – a prop or second-row forward, who has also played for Samoa – is expected to touch down in England tomorrow.
Coach Daryl Powell reckons the duo will add a new dimension to Castleford as his team look to build on an impressive 2014 campaign which saw them reach the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final and finish fourth in First Utility Super League.
“They’ve both been in Melbourne’s system and they are both good quality players,” Powell said of his overseas recruits.
“They have been in a pretty focused environment and I expect them to come in and set some standards of their own straight away.
“We are looking for the players to set some pretty high standards, whether they are coming back or are new to the club.
“We have got a pretty good mix and I am really looking forward to getting stuck into pre-season when everyone’s in.”
Roberts, 29, made his NRL debut for Canterbury Bulldogs in 2006 and had a spell as half-back partner to Brent Sherwin, who later played for Tigers.
A cousin of Everton footballer Tim Cahill, he joined Parramatta Eels ahead of the 2012 season and moved to Melbourne two years later.
He made five appearances for New Zealand before switching to Samoa and playing in the 2008 and 2013 World Cups.
Roberts was an ever-present for Samoa in last year’s tournament and featured in all three of their recent Four Nations games, narrow defeats to England and New Zealand and a heavy loss against Australia.
Powell kept a close eye on his performances and said: “He looked really strong.
“He is really quick, he’s got a good left-foot step and his acceleration is good. He defended really well as well, so he acquitted himself outstandingly well.”
Moors, 28, began his NRL career at Penrith Panthers from 2007-2008 and then had a stint with Wests Tigers.
He joined Melbourne Storm in 2013 and made his debut in their World Club Challenge win over Leeds Rhinos at Headingley Carnegie.
Meanwhile, Tigers captain Michael Shenton, who played in England’s Four Nations opener against Samoa, will report in to begin pre-season on December 12.
The rest of Powell’s squad will be together at the start of next week and the coach said: “It has been going really well so far.
“The boys have fitted together pretty well.
“We had a couple of weeks with the new guys in and quite a few of the senior players came back this week.”
Tigers were the surprise package of 2014, but are being tipped to struggle next year following the departure of key players including prop Craig Huby and hooker Daryl Clark.
Powell said: “We’re not really interested in what anybody else is saying.
“Last year we had a lot of things said about us, but we worked together really well.
“We don’t take any notice one way or the other, it is about making sure we do what we need to do to put in a good performance.
“It is about what we deliver on the field and also recognising that this is a new season.
“We need to kick on. It’s really important we kick on and focus on our standards and make sure what we do is consistent.
“I am really confident we will do that.”