Castleford Tigers interim head coach Andy Last facing selection dilemmas ahead of Catalans trip

​Castleford Tigers have been left counting the cost of their defeat to Warrington Wolves in more ways than one.
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​While the 38-0 home defeat was damaging in itself Cas also picked up injuries and a suspension from the game that could see them having to face Catalans Dragons in France this Saturday without several key players.

Skipper Paul McShane suffered a dead leg, while two experienced forwards join him as doubtful to make the French trip with Liam Watts picking up a shoulder injury and Nathan Massey fracturing his eye socket.

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Castleford’s problems are compounded as forward George Lawler, full-back Niall Evalds and hooker Cain Robb are already out through injury and Adam Milner will definitely miss the game after picking up two one-match suspensions for separate incidents of making late contact on a passer.

Castleford Tigers are hoping to have Mahe Fonua back at centre for the trip to Catalans Dragons. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.comCastleford Tigers are hoping to have Mahe Fonua back at centre for the trip to Catalans Dragons. Picture: Ed Sykes/
Castleford Tigers are hoping to have Mahe Fonua back at centre for the trip to Catalans Dragons. Picture: Ed Sykes/

Interim head coach Andy Last, who remains in charge for this week’s match, has been left with several selection decisions to make, with form as well as fitness to consider, but he is hopeful that McShane will be fit to play and that centre Mahe Fonua will return after a head knock ruled him out of the Warrington game.

He explained: “Paul’s responded really well to treatment so I’m hoping that hopefully he will be fine.

“He picked up a bit of a dead leg at the knee, unfortunately half-time came at the wrong time for us because it stiffened up. He was really struggling with his mobility and we made the decision to take him off for the Catalans trip.

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“Nathan Massey was due to go back on for Albert Vete. He’s blown his nose and his eye socket has popped. That was a devastating blow because we had two subs with 25 minutes to go.

“Liam Watts has got an AC joint, he will go for a scan so hopefully we get good news for that. A bad one can be six to eight and a good one two to three weeks.

“Mahe has got a good chance, he’s passed all his return to play protocols."

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The Warrington defeat left Cas second from bottom with just two points so far and left Last unhappy with what he saw.

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He said: “I’m a little bit rattled to put in such a disappointing performance at home on the back of us playing so well last week.

“We spoke about striving for some consistency, but we didn’t get it. From the first minute to the 80th minute we couldn’t control them. We were always reacting to them."

Last is still in the dark about how long he will continue as the interim head coach, but respects the club’s position in taking their time on Lee Radford’s successor.

He explained: "The club did say they've got a four to six-week window to take in applications and get a feel for things. In that four to six weeks, I've just got to continue leading the team.

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"They need to take their time on it. It's an important decision. It's been well documented that there are 14 players off contract this year and the IMG proposals, TV deal and the new ground are all on the horizon.

"I've told them I want the job and hopefully I get the opportunity to lead this club because it is one which has great tradition and history. I'm passionate about the town and group of players I'm leading at the moment."