Castleford Tigers could change Ben Roberts plan

Last Updated February 06 2018, 17:01Rugby Union
Ben Roberts
Ben Roberts

Castleford are considering ditching the experiment of playing Ben Roberts at full-back after one match of the new season.

Roberts switched from stand-off following the loss of Zak Hardaker, who remains suspended while awaiting a UK Anti-Doping hearing following a failed drugs test.

But coach Daryl Powell has reiterated his pledge to ring the changes for Sunday's home game against Widnes following his side's shock 46-6 hammering by St Helens in round one of the Betfred Super League.

"That's one of the positions that's under threat," Powell said at his weekly press conference. "There's a few of them.

"We'll have to make that decision as a collective coaching group. Without a doubt, there'll be changes, you can't come up with a performance like that and not have people dropping out of the team."

Roberts could revert to his old stand-off role after teenager Jake Trueman was concussed in the eight-try mauling by Saints.

"We'll check on him but I don't think he'll be fit," said Powell, who confirmed that Jamie Ellis, awarded the number six jersey on his return to the club in the close season, is also in contention.

Another close-season signing, centre or second rower Joe Wardle, is rated a 50-50 chance by Powell to shake off a hamstring injury he sustained in training and make his debut against the Vikings.

Powell will not be able to call on other recruits Mitch Clark, Garry Lo and Cory Aston who have been sent out on loan for a month but he could bring back the four players on dual registration at Halifax.

"Our depth is fine, that's not going to be an issue," said Powell, who is confident of getting a response from his players to their opening loss.

"It was a fair kick up the backside and how we respond is going to define how good we are.

"We've trained well in the last couple of days, the attitude to training has been awesome this week, we are looking to move on quite quickly.

"This game is pretty important for us. We are at home and we're proud of our home record.

"The first month is important for me, it's where you set your standards and where you get your confidence. Clearly we haven't got a lot of confidence from the weekend and we need to get that back this weekend."

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