After missing out on preparations last week due to a frozen pitch, Castleford Tigers prepare for the Super League season today and hoping to return to the play-offs for the first time since 2019.
As they do so, they take on Whitehaven this afternoon.
Here’s everything you need to know:
The game kicks off at 3pm at the LEL Arena.
Castleford Head Coach Lee Radford has picked a 20-man Tigers squad to travel to Cumbria.
After the unfortunate cancellation of the Tigers’ game at Keighley Cougars last weekend in what should have been former star Jake Webster’s testimonial, Sunday will mark Cas’ second pre-season friendly and their first meeting with Haven since 2007 when the Tigers were fighting to get back into the Super League.
Having missed out on the opportunity to run out at Cougar Park, First Team regulars Liam Watts, George Griffin, Nathan Massey, Adam Milner, and Jordan Turner, along with Kenny Edwards, George Lawler, Alex Mellor, and Jake Mamo are in line to have their first hit-outs of 2023.
New addition to the squad Albert Vete will be looking to make an impression on potentially his first Cas appearance and youngsters Cain Robb and Jacob Hookem will be in familiar territory having represented Whitehaven during loan stints.
Oliver Agar, Jack Broadbent, Kenny Edwards, Bureta Faraimo, Mahe Fonua, George Griffin, Jacob Hookem, George Lawler, Jake Mamo, Nathan Massey, Alex Mellor, Adam Milner, Muizz Mustapha, Cain Robb, Daniel Smith, Alex Sutcliffe, Jordan Turner, Albert Vete, Elliot Wallis, Liam Watts
The absence of spine players Niall Evalds, Gareth Widdop, Jacob Miller and Paul McShane is no surprise with Radford previously saying he would wrap them up in cotton wool on Tigers TV:
“There will be some players who won’t play who we can’t afford to get injured who will be wrapped up in cotton wool until our last friendly against Huddersfield.
“Our two halfbacks won’t be participating and probably won’t do until Huddersfield and Niall Evalds is probably in that bracket as well.
“Paul McShane will be wrapped up in cotton wool, he is really valuable and I’m not saying other blokes aren’t but he plays a specialist position where we haven’t got much depth.”
As for Whitehaven, they have again named a strong squad as they did against Wigan Warriors last week:
WHITEHAVEN, COPELAND, CUMBRIA
We want everyone to know that the stars of the Super League are coming to town tomorrow as @CTRLFC are the visitors to the LEL Arena.
Entry is £15 for adults, £10 for concessions and £5 for juniors or free with paying adults! #WeareHaven pic.twitter.com/BIv7SD81jx
— Whitehaven Rugby League (@OfficialHavenRl) January 28, 2023