COACH DARYL Powell’s decision to make wholesale changes for tomorrow’s visit of St Helens has been backed by centre Jake Webster.
Matt Cook and Adam Milner will miss out after being hurt in Monday’s win at Leigh Centurions and Powell has opted to rest Luke Gale, Zak Hardaker, Mike McMeeken, Grant Millington and Michael Shenton.
Andy Lynch, Jy Hitchcox, Joel Monaghan, Will Maher and Alex Foster are set to return, with Tuoyo Egodo, Kieran Gill, Luke Million and Jake Trueman all in line for a Super League debut.
It is Tigers’ third game in 10 days – less than two months after a similar fixture pile-up at Easter – and Powell said: “The RFL are not going to look after the players so I’m going to do it.”
Tigers’ 100 per cent home record is at stake, but Webster –who was rested against Widnes Vikings last week, but played at Leigh – insisted: “I am pretty sure if everyone was asked to play they would, but Daryl has got the right idea about player welfare.
“We’ve only just got over the Easter period and it happens again. We’ve still got the business part of the year to contend with and we’ve got to make sure we are fit and fighting for that.”
Saints have not played since a home win over Wigan nine days ago. Their side will be selected from that 17 plus Jonny Lomax and Dominique Peyroux. Webster added: “It is not ideal, especially playing against a team that’s not had to do what we’ve had to do. It is going to be a big ask.”
Saints were thrashed 53-10 at the Jungle in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup last month, but have won both their games since. Webster said: “Since the Cup they’ve gone really well, they’ve turned it around. The new coach (Justin Holbrook) has come in and done a fantastic job.
“They are playing with more belief and confidence in the short time he has had with them. They will be out for a bit of revenge, like most of the teams we’ve done that to, so we’ve got to turn up with the right attitude and be ready to meet fire with fire.”
The former New Zealand Test star says having six players in the England elite performance squad is a credit to Castleford Tigers’ whole team, but is surprised it wasn’t more. Winger Greg Eden and hooker Paul McShane have been drafted into a squad which already included Gale, Hardaker, McMeeken and Shenton.
“I am not sure how Adam Milner has not got in there,” Webster said.
“He has still got a bit of the year left to force his way in. He plays well above his weight – he is always the first one out of the line to put big shots on big blokes and he will definitely be missed while he’s out, but, hopefully it’s not too long, he’s back out there soon and he can continue to build on what he has done so far this year.”
Of Tigers’ England call-ups, Webster added: “It’s fantastic, it’s a reward for the whole team, not just the six. We’ve all played a part in getting them there. All their hard work has paid off.”
Castleford Tigers: Eden, Gill, Egodo, Foster, Hitchcox, T Holmes, Larroyer, Lynch, Maher, Massey, McShane, Million, Minikin, Moors, Monaghan, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Trueman, Webster.
St Helens: from Lomax, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Swift, Fages, Smith, Walmsley, Roby, Amor, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Thompson, Lee, Peyroux, Knowles, Grace, Taia.
Referee: Chris Campbell (Widnes).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3.30pm.