Mariano out for the season

Ben Crooks and Franki Mariano have joined Castleford’s lengthy injury toll and Mariano won’t play again this season.

The Tigers currently have 13 members of the first team squad currently on the sidelines.

Joel Monaghan, Ben Roberts, Andy Lynch, Nathan Massey, Jy Hitchcox, Ash Robson, Tom Holmes and Lew Jewitt have already been ruled out for the rest of 2017.

Cas coach Darly Powell is hopeful to have Jake Webster, Mike McMeeken and Michael Shenton back before the last game.

“Jake is nearing fitness again, he’s had a couple of training sessions now and he is building up and getting better by the day so we’ll check on him next week to see if he is available for the Wakefield game on 4th September, I am hopeful that he will be,” Powell said.

“We are just taking it week by week with Shenny now, he is building up his training and starting to do contact work.

“Really it’s just a fluid situation with him but we’ll wait and see if and when he is right to play. Obviously we need to make sure he goes through all the things that he needs to and we’ll make a decision down the track.

“Yeah Mike is similar to Jake, he’s close to playing and we just need to see how he goes over the coming week and then we’ll make a decision on whether he’ll play against Wakefield on the 4th September.

“Frankie has gone for the season too, we think he might have broken ribs and damaged rib cartilage (during the Warrington match on Saturday) and that’s really painful. He needs further checks but he won’t play again this year.”

Crooks is battling to be fit for the Tigers’ next game.

“Crooksy has a couple of bits and pieces following the Warrington game too, he’s got a neck problem and a rib problem so he’s in a bit of pain at the moment, so we’ll see how he goes through next week,” Powell said.

This season has been the worst for injuries the head coach can remember in his career but Powell knows the tough times this season have helped to strengthen his squad in the long term.

“It’s been really tough and our players have responded really well,” he said.

“We refocused after we got beat by Warrington at home in July and there has been a great response.

“We wanted to win all of our Super 8’s game but we fell just a little bit short at the weekend, but we are not far away every week now and that’s the important thing.

“In the Super 8’s we’ve played the top three teams in the comp, we’ve won two and been within two minutes of winning the third one, with Warrington getting us on the last play of the game, that was disappointing but our players have been outstanding.
“There is still loads of improvement to come and some high quality players that will come back in to the team and that’s going to help us.

“We’ve had minimal team selection issues this year due to the injuries we have had, and it’s been difficult but there have been players who’ve gained some great experience this year that will help us as we move into pre-season.

“If you look at our squad and where it is at, we have a deep squad, but it has been made deeper by what has happened to us this year and the experience players like Greg Minikin and Will Maher have gained.

“They’ll potentially play more games for us this season and the future is bright for us.

“There is a great deal of confidence in the team that we can do something special with this group of players and I’m looking forward to what’s in front of us.”

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