Daryl Powell hails Michael Shenton as the “best passer in the world” as Cas captain approaches 400th career game

Daryl Powell hasn’t held back in his praise for skipper Michael Shenton, who will be making his 400th career appearance against Leeds on Friday.

“400 games is incredible, he’s set a legacy of leadership at the club,” Powell stated.

“He’s really grown in the time I’ve been at the club over the years in his leadership role.

“But, not only that, his skill and ability to pass the ball is better than anybody in rugby league, across the world centre-wise.

“The ability to get the ball to his winger is class and our left wingers score tries constantly, whoever has been out there.

“Jordan Turner scored twice on our left wing last week, obviously Niall Evalds had a fair bit to say about that, but Michael has been outstanding for us and he’s looking forward to a big year.”

Two men that will miss out for Castleford in round two are Gareth O’Brien and Jacques O’Neill, who both left the field early in the Tigers’ 21-12 victory over Warrington.

“Gaz O’Brien will be out, that forces us into a change there and Jacques O’Neill is out too, he’s going for a scan today.

“It looks like he suffered an oblique problem, but we won’t know until later whether he’s got a tear in there.

“Danny will play, he’s obviously a big part of our team. With Gaz going off, it forced us into a reshuffle last week.”

Lewis Bienek could also be in line to make his debut, but Powell said he will make a decision on the 22-year-old on Friday morning.

“He’s in around the side is Lewis, I need to make a decision about who will go on the bench, whether its Lewis or Tyla Hepi in place of Jacques, but we will make that decision tomorrow morning.”

With former Tigers’ Man of Steel Luke Gale in the Leeds ranks, the Castleford boss knows that Rhinos will be no easy pickings.

“They are going to challenge us physically and move the ball around, Galey’s a dominant factor in terms of what they do with the ball.

“They’ve got two livewire hookers and got some really young outside backs; we watched them last week and they played pretty well and came out on top.

“We know all about Luke Gale and what he can do as a player and we know we need to work hard to nullify that threat.”

Powell was full of praise for his side played against Warrington, but knows that will matter little against the Rhinos this week.

“We made a marker for ourselves last week; we’ve got a short turnaround – a day less than Leeds – but we feel like we’ve handled it well and we’re looking forward to it.

“You can’t fall in love with yourself, we played well last week but we need to set the foundation to win every week.”

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