Castleford Tigers: Rookie Holmes set to face Leeds as Tigers lose Roberts to injury

Ben Roberts
Ben Roberts
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CASTLEFORD TIGERS have suffered a blow with the loss of stand-off Benny Roberts due to the recurrence of a groin strain.

CASTLEFORD TIGERS have suffered a blow with the loss of stand-off Benny Roberts due to the recurrence of a groin strain.

Tom Holmes

Tom Holmes

The Samoa international, 31, has been crucial to the Super League leaders’ form in 2017 but is now out of tomorrow’s Magic Weekend game with Leeds.

Roberts came off the bench in last Saturday’s 53-10 Challenge Cup thrashing of St Helens but coach Daryl Powell admitted he was using him lightly to try and protect the problem.

Subsequently, the ex-Melbourne Storm star has not been named in the 19-man squad for Newcastle and, with former England stand-off Rangi Chase having headed on a season-long loan to Widnes on Monday, Powell is short of half-backs.

Rookie Tom Holmes started alongside England scrum-half Luke Gale against St Helens and will do so again versus Leeds.

Justin Carney, right.

Justin Carney, right.

But Castleford are also sweating on the fitness of full-back Zak Hardaker who faces a late fitness test on the ankle he injured in that cup win.

Gadwin Springer is expected to come in on the bench although Alex Foster is competing for a spot and youngster Kieran Gill comes into the 19-man squad, too. Leeds recall England centre Kallum Watkins after he was rested against Barrow Raiders and second-row Brett Delaney (head) is fit.

But props Keith Galloway (knee) and Mitch Garbutt (concussion) drop out..

Meanwhile, former Tigers star Justin Carney will be a big hit at Hull KR, says Tim Sheens.

The Championship leaders have snapped up the 28-year-old Australian winger on an 18-month contract following his release by Salford Red Devils.

Carney scored 72 tries in just 67 games for Tigers from 2013 to 2015 before joining Salford in controversial circumstances.

He is now also three weeks into an eight-match ban for racially abusing an opponent during a Challenge Cup tie.

But Hull KR chief Sheens, who initially recruited the player for Salford, expects him to make a big impact in the club’s bid for an immediate return to Super League.

“He’ll bring a really strong dimension to our backfield,” said the ex-Kangaroos boss.

“He’s still serving his ban so that’ll give us a bit of time to work with him first but he’ll get plenty of football with us before the Eights. He’s a Super League-quality player and we want to be out of this division so we need to be starting to recruit people who we think can automatically come in and play Super League if we get there.

“He’s a great kid as well. He’s what we’d call a country boy back in Australia and what you see is what you get from him.

“He loves his football so I think the players will enjoy playing with him and the fans will enjoy watching and cheering him.”

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