OPPOSITION CORNER: Castleford Tigers present an unknown quantity after eight new signings (From Warrington Guardian)
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OPPOSITION CORNER: Castleford Tigers present an unknown quantity to Warrington Wolves after eight new signings
Rangi Chase, left, lining up for England alongside Wolves' skipper Adrian Morley. Picture by Mike Boden
NEVER has the phrase ‘an unknown quantity’ been more apt.
Castleford come to town with eight new signings in their midst, as well as a fit and hungry England number seven Rangi Chase in charge of orchestration.
Only Hull Kingston Rovers have been as active with recruitment and it makes Ian Millward’s side tough to fathom out.
On the positive side, only Justin Carney will be a stranger to most of Wolves’ players, having joined from Sydney Roosters.
Wolves be well aware of the footwork and all-round talent of former St Helens man Michael Shenton and the raw power of ex-Hull KR beefcake Jake Webster in what looks to be the new strike centre partnership.
But their combinations with the players around them will be an unfamiliar enemy, and it will be much the same with how the likes of Lee Gilmour, Keith Mason, Weller Hauraki and Jordan Tansey fit into the scheme of things.
They did eventually seem to click on the left in their last friendly outing, with Carney, Webster, Gilmour and Chase conjuring three tries to turn a 10-0 deficit on its head in a 20-10 victory over Championship side Featherstone on January 13.
Tigers are a much more experienced outfit compared to 2012 but such unfamiliarity could be Castleford’s own undoing.
It will surely take time for patterns of play to pay off as Millward’s men learn to gel.
And particularly so coming up against a Warrington team with no such issues.
But there is another reason why Cas could prove to be tricky opposition on Sunday.
Their squad, who lost 26-6 at Hull in their other warm-up game on January 6, will be just as enthusiastic and determined to start the season off on the right note as Warrington.
Wolves need to be wary that Tigers are growing a habit of smiling on opening days of new seasons, having won 24-10 at Salford last year, 40-20 against Wakefield in the Cardiff Magic event of 2011 and 24-10 at Leeds in 2010.
Castleford Tigers squad changes:
Jamie Ellis (Hull), Jordan Tansey (York), Michael Shenton (St Helens), Jake Webster (Hull KR), Lee Gilmour, Keith Mason (Huddersfield), Justin Carney (Sydney Roosters), Weller Hauraki (Leeds).
Joe Arundel (Hull), Ryan Brierley (Leigh), John Davies (Batley), Josh Griffin (Leeds Carnegie RU), Steve Snitch (Northern Pride), Paul Jackson (Whitehaven), Lee Mitchell, Rhys Williams (Warrington Wolves - Loan Return), Ben Blackmore, Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants), Ryan McGoldrick, Josh Atkinson, James Grehan (released), Nick Youngquest, Ryan Hudson, Danny Orr, Stuart Jones (retired).
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