Sampson comes out of retirement to answer injury call

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The Independent Online

Dean Sampson will be back in Castleford's first team eight months after his retirement to help them through their injury crisis at Warrington today.

Sampson, who is a month short of his 36th birthday and now coaches Castleford's Academy team, has remained on their playing register and took the field for half of an Under-21s game on Thursday.

"I came through that fine and now I'm buzzing about being back in the first team," said Sampson, who will be on the substitutes' bench at Wilderspool. "I'm really looking forward to it. I'm under no illusions. It's going to be a massive ask, but I'm just going to go out and enjoy it. You don't often get a second chance and, if it's just one game, so be it."

Sampson, who played 420 games for Castleford before officially retiring at the end of last season, has continued to play for his local amateur side, Stanley Rangers, and has no qualms about his fitness. "I've lost two and a half stone, so in that respect I'm fitter than I was," he pointed out. "I'm a lot more mobile than I was. Graham Steadman wants a high work-rate from me and I'm sure I can give him that."

Steadman has been forced to recall Sampson by a drastic shortage of props within the club. Paul Jackson is likely to be out for the season with a shoulder injury and all the possible back-up players in the Under-21 and Under-18 teams are injured as well.

As well as Sampson, the Castleford coach has called up Tim Spears, a back-row forward from the Academy team, for a possible debut.

The game pits against each other the two coaches for July's Origin match Lancshire's Paul Cullen expects to have Nathan Wood back in his Warrington side after illness.

In tomorrow's Super League games, London's Tony Rea has made sweeping changes against Wakefield, who are without the suspended Dallas Hood, while at Widnes the Huddersfield coach Tony Smith might have Paul Reilly and Steve McNamara available to strengthen his side against their struggling rivals.

Widnes have loaned their centre Dan Potter to Oldham, for whom he makes his debut in their National League One match at home to Leigh.

In National League Two, Billy McGinty takes charge of Workington for the first time and gives the former Wigan Academy player Gareth Dean his debut at home to the division's leaders Keighley.

In the GMB Union National Cup final at Blackpool this afternoon, Oldham St Anne's have dedicated their attempt to lift the trophy to the memory of Peter Deakin.

The former Bradford, Warrington, Sale and Saracens guru, who died in February at the age of 49, was a stalwart of the amateur club. Three of his brothers are on their coaching staff and another will be playing against West Hull.

"We have taken his memory as our rallying cry and we all want to win the Cup for him," said the St Annes head coach Chris Deakin.

The Rugby League has declined to confirm or deny rumours that two or more clubs will have Super League points deducted next week as a punishment for breaching their salary cap last season.

An RFL spokesman said: "The annual audit process for Super League clubs' salary caps was discussed at a meeting of the club on Thursday. No further comment is being made, as the process is still being continued."