Castleford Tigers: Tigers to hold talks with Kiwi Webster

Jake Webster
Jake Webster
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NEW ZEALAND centre Jake Webster’s Castleford Tigers future will be decided within the next few weeks.

Tigers have signed centre Ben Crooks – a former Super League young player of the year – from Parramatta Eels on a three-year deal beginning next season and are also set to bring in young recruit Greg Minikin from York City Knights.

That has left a question mark over where Webster, who can also play in the second-row, fits into Tigers’ plans for next year.

But coach Daryl Powell insisted no decision has yet been made and he hailed the 31-year-old for his performances this term.

“At the moment it is a fluid situation,” Powell said of Webster’s future at Tigers.

“Jake was been going exceptionally well, I have been really impressed with the way he has been playing and we will make a decision in the near future.”

Webster played for Melbourne Storm, Gold Coast Titans and Hull KR before joining Tigers ahead of the 2013 season.

His contract is due to expire this autumn.

As reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post on Saturday, Crooks – son of Tigers legend Lee Crooks – will link up with Castleford for pre-season training in November after being released a year early from his Parramatta contract.

Tigers also have high hopes for Minikin, who will join them next season on a two-year deal.

The 20-year-old was attracting interest from several top-flight clubs, but has chosen to join Tigers, though the signing has not yet been officially confirmed.

He is regarded as a project by Tigers’ management and could return to York on dual-registration in 2016, but is felt to have the potential to make a breakthrough into Super League as early as next year.

Meanwhile, Powell is confident Tigers will be close to full strength when they play host to Widnes Vikings in six days’ time, after a more than two-week break.

Luke Dorn, who has been sidelined since early April due to a hamstring problem, could be in contention at the weekend, though Powell will have to decide whether to make a change following Ben Roberts’ impressive performances as stand-in full-back.

Said the coach: “He (Dorn) trained all last week, so I have got a bit of a selection dilemma.

“I will have to have a really good think about what I am going to do next week. Luke has been on a really cautious re-hab programme, but he looked really good last week.”

Frankie Mariano has undergone major knee surgery and will miss the rest of the season, but Powell added: “Apart from that, we’re not far off.

“We will have nearly everybody available for selection.”