Chase faces fitness test to play in Magic derby

Daryl Powell will wait on a late fitness test for star player Rangi Chase before naming his team to face local rivals Wakefield in his first Magic Weekend with Castleford Tigers.
Rangi ChaseRangi Chase
Rangi Chase

The new Tigers head coach hopes to have back row man Weller Hauraki back for Saturday afternoon’s derby game at the Etihad Stadium, but is sweating on the availability of Chase after the influential stand-off picked up an injury in last weekend’s 39-30 defeat against Catalan in France.

Powell said: “Rangi Chase got a bit of a knock and will have a late fitness test, but pretty much everyone else is okay.

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“Weller Hauraki is back in training and looks like he will be available. We’ll see how he goes for the rest of the week, but I am hoping he will be ready to go. Any other changes to the team will depend on if Rangi comes through.

“I’ll make a decision on the team probably on Friday based on what happens with Rangi.”

One player who will not feature is Tyrone McCarthy after his loan spell from Warrington ended this week without him playing a game.

Powell explained: “Tyrone has gone back to Warrington.

“I decided I wasn’t going to use him this week so it was pointless bringing him over if he wasn’t going to play. I thank Warrington for allowing him to come to us, but if we weren’t going to use him it made sense for him to go back there.

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“He has been unlucky as the team has had some continuity about it for a number of weeks. He came at a time when the coach was changing, which is never ideal, and on the back of a really good performance against Hull KR. That made it difficult for him.”

Powell is looking forward to his first Cas-Wakefield derby and is confident his players will be up for it.

He said: “It’s a big game for us. Local derbies should bring out the best in players, coaches and everyone involved.

“Wakefield are a pretty good side and we need to be focused on getting a performance which will hopefully get us a result.

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“I’ve lived in this area a long time and I recognise how close the rivalry is and how important games like this are to the fans and everybody. We need to raise our levels significantly and we are confident the players are going to do that.

“There are some specific areas we need to improve. I’m not saying it’s going to be an overnight fix, but the players are getting stuck into it. Hopefully you’ll see some green shoots this week in areas we can develop, particularly defensively.”

Powell is happy to be heading to the Etihad Stadium for his first taste of the Magic Weekend.

He added: “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a different venue for everybody and it creates a bit of spice to the season.

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“I like the Magic Weekend concept. I know it’s been used to take the game to different parts in the past and it’s been to Scotland and Wales.

“It’s changed and is based in Manchester for a second year. It’s a little bit different, but everybody’s in the same place, it’s all the rugby league family coming together so from that perspective it’s exciting. It creates a bit of spice to the season.”