Lee Radford makes big Joe Westerman selection decision

Super League is back and the opening round concludes with an intriguing battle at the MKM Stadium.

Hull FC and Castleford Tigers have missed out on the play-offs in the last two seasons despite having very strong squads.

Thus, both clubs will be hoping to lay down a marker come Sunday afternoon.

It is a new era at the Black and Whites with Tony Smith taking charge, one of Super League’s best ever coaches.

He has also put together an exciting new spine and strike power with Leeds Rhinos duo Brad Dwyer and Liam Sutcliffe.

Smith’s opposite number is former Hull FC coach Lee Radford, formerly of Hull FC. He is now settled at the Jungle and has a strong squad at his disposal and new halfbacks too.

It is one of those games that could be too close to call.

However, this exciting game has been overshadowed by talk about Joe Westerman after a video was circulated of him on social media on Sunday night which resulted in Castleford fining him after an internal investigation.

This week Lee Radford spoke about the incident speaking to BBC Sport West Yorkshire:

“Obviously Monday sort of knocked us about a little bit, but since then he’s trained well and put his best foot forward for selection.

“He’s one of a number of players who have had a good pre-season and players that I’m looking forward  to seeing what they can do as a collective for 2023.

“Throughout his career he’s rode a rocky road I suppose, he’s had some other setbacks throughout his career off the field but he’s always responded in a good manner and mentally he’s a tough fella.”

This came as Radford confirmed that Westerman could be selected for the game saying he thinks the loose-forward would be “up for playing.”

He has now been named to start against his former club.

It comes as Niall Evalds starts at fullback alongside Bureta Faraimo and Jake Mamo as the back three. Jordan Turner and Mahe Fonua start in the centres.

There are debuts for Jacob Miller and Gareth Widdop in the halves. Skipper Paul McShane starts at nine with Liam Watts and Nathan Massey at prop. Kenny Edwards joins vice-captain Alex Mellor in the back row.

Ex-Leeds Rhinos man Jack Broadbent debuts off the bench but Albert Vete is left out.

Tex Hoy, Liam Sutcliffe, Jake Clifford and Brad Dwyer all debut. Jake Trueman’s absence means that Ben McNamara starts in the halves.

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