Castleford unlikely to recruit Jake Webster replacement for 2019, admits Daryl Powell

Castleford coach Daryl Powell has indicated that Greg Minikin, rather than a new recruit, is the favourite to fill the centre spot which will be vacated by Jake Webster for 2019.

Webster is heading to Bradford on a two-year deal, and though the Tigers have tried to strengthen their backline – League Express revealed earlier this year they were interested in Brayden Wiliame before pulling back on a deal – Powell has suggested he may be more content with what he already has.

And Minikin, long-regarded as a centre by Powell, could well be the man to take that spot.

He said: “We’ve got a couple of young guys in there in Kieran Gill and Tuoyo Egodo – but there’s also Greg Minikin too, who is a centre that’s playing on the wing. 

“There’s a great opportunity for Greg to grab hold of, and that’s up to him. He needs to get through the other side of this injury, get back out on the field and have a big pre-season. I think people have forgotten about him a bit and there is a slot there for him.”

With Joe Wardle, Ben Roberts and Alex Foster also available to slot in at centre, Powell again appeared to suggest he is satisfied with his depth in the three-quarter line.

“James Clare has done a great job on the wing – but there’s Alex Foster too,” he said. 

“He’s a little bit different, a bit crash, bash and wallop, but I like him as a centre as well as a back-rower. We’ve got numerous options to fill that gap.”

Meanwhile, Minikin could yet return to action again in 2018, despite having previously being ruled out for the remainder of the season.

In fact, Powell is confident he could see all his squad fully-fit again at some stage: with the exception of Foster, who is definitely not fit until the 2019 campaign begins.

“Greg could well be back this season,” Powell suggested. 

“Matt Cook could potentially come back if we got to the Grand Final; whether we would do that at that stage, I don’t know. But there’s only Fozzy that is definitely dead-set gone for the year, because Jesse Sene-Lefao could well play a part yet, too.”