ASSISTANT-BOSS Danny Orr reckons Castleford Tigers’ World Cup contingent have done themselves and the club proud.
Half-back Luke Gale and second-rower Mike McMeeken are on duty with England and winger Garry Lo – Tigers’ new signing from Sheffield Eagles – has been a big hit for Papua New Guinea.
Gale and Lo will be on opposite sides in Sunday’s quarter-final and Orr believes both players have enhanced their reputation.
Orr described Lo as “a handful” and observed: “He has been playing well.
“He got a bit of a knock in the game at the weekend [against USA], but hopefully he’s okay.
“He has been a real stand-out for them and shown what he can bring to us.”
Of Gale, Orr said: “He was good in the first half against France last week and he got the team around the pitch.
“I thought Gareth Widdop looked really good at full-back and James Roby was great – he contributed to the team performance immensely and the way he plays helped Kevin Brown and Luke as well.”
McMeeken made his World Cup debut against France, but has not been named in the team to face Papua New Guinea.
“He played big minutes last week,” Orr said.
“He took a bit of a whack on his nose, there was a bit of claret, but he’ll be pleased.
“He has gone a long way so he will have wanted to play.
“He has obviously got a game now and he will be wanting to kick on and hopefully play some more of the games coming up.”
Tigers’ World Cup players will begin pre-season training in late December.
With coach Daryl Powell in Australia, Orr has been supervising the early stages and is happy with the way things have gone so far.
“It will be tough for the players in pre-season, it always is,” he said.
“We had the first week last week and the players worked really hard.
“It wasn’t a killer of a week, I just wanted to build them into it.
“Some of the sessions were tough, but we will slowly build up over the next few weeks until they are absolutely flat out.
“They are working hard at the moment, which is pleasing.
“It’s a bit disruptive at the moment with people all over the place, but we’ll get everybody back in before we go for a week’s camp again.
“Ideally you want your players in and working together, but it is what it is, we are dealing with it and it won’t be long before we have everybody back in and I’m sure we will be fine.”
Former Huddersfield Giants centre/back-rower Joe Wardle –signed from Newcastle Knights – has been Tigers’ only high-profile recruit so far, but Orr insisted: “I think Powelly’s putting a good squad together for next year.”
He added: “Obviously we already had a good squad.
“At the end of every year players come and go, some leave and some come in.
“The players who have come in have done really well in their first week.
“They’ve settled in within the first week and hopefully they are going to kick on over pre-season and become a key part of the squad or the coming year.”