Castleford Tigers vs Leeds Rhinos Challenge Cup match preview: Craig Huby is poised to make remarkable return

 

Rugby League Correspondent

Castleford are set to take a major gamble on the fitness of Craig Huby in the Challenge Cup final against Leeds Rhinos on Saturday afternoon.

Huby, the cornerstone of the Tigers’ pack, dislocated his left elbow in the semi-final against Widnes Vikings, less than two weeks ago. The injury resulted in him being sent to hospital to have the elbow slotted back into place.

It was thought he would miss the final, but the inspirational prop forward seems to be on the verge of a remarkable recovery. He trained with his team-mates at Wembley on Friday – admittedly a light session with his elbow heavily strapped – and was due for a fitness test on Saturday morning.

“If he’s confident and I see him do one or two things, then he’s in,”said his coach, Daryl Powell. “We need to give him as long as possible. He’s a pretty important player to us.”

The experienced substitute, Garreth Carvell, stands by to come into the starting line-up, but the opposing coach, Brian McDermott, is fully expecting Huby to line up for Cas. “For the average man it would be two months, but I think they’ll manage to get him out there,” McDermott said.

Powell has described this as his perfect final, but denies that he harbours any bitterness over the manner of his departure from Leeds in 2002. He is not, he insisted, the coach the Rhinos pushed out into the cold. “There are a lot of misconceptions about that,” he said. “It was my choice to stand down.”

Looking back, he says he did not feel quite ready to take on the responsibility at Leeds on a long-term basis, in what was his first season after retiring as a player. He then took on a director of rugby role, initially for two years, after which he was due to resume as coach.

The trouble was that his successor as coach at Leeds, Tony Smith, was just too successful and, as his contract was extended, Powell’s return to the coaching role was pushed further back. “I didn’t want to be that long away from coaching, which is why I went to rugby union [in 2005].” He believes he learnt a lot from his time at the helm of Leeds Tykes, but he was always destined to return to his first love, which he did by taking the coaching job at Featherstone Rovers.

So impressive was his work there, that he was the obvious candidate when the post at his home-town club, Castleford, became available.

In his first season, he has converted them from wooden-spoon contenders to a top-four Super League side. “We’ve done really well,” he admits. “There’s been a consistency about our performances.”

Powell is philosophical about the leaks about players leaving or supposedly leaving this winter – including key men like Huby, Marc Sneyd and Daryl Clark. “That’s rugby for you,” he said.

One important contributor brought in this time has been the scrum-half, Liam Finn, who was without a club until Powell, who had coached him at Featherstone, swooped at the start of this year. “I know I wouldn’t be in Super League if it wasn’t for a coach who understands my game and had faith in me,” Finn said. “I’ll always be grateful to Daryl.”

Although Powell, who has made great play of the spirit of ’86, when Cas last won the Challenge Cup, will not name his 17-man squad until today, he is certain to recall Justin Carney, who has completed a two-match suspension.

Leeds have had a more relaxed build-up than has been the case in the previous lead-ups to their six successive cup final defeats.

However, earlier this week their hooker Paul Aiton was named as one of 17 former Cronulla players who have been listed as having a case to answer in Australia over alleged use of illegal supplements at that club in 2011.

McDermott says that has had no impact on the team’s preparations. “All it is at the moment is a report from Australia that might not be right,” he said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator - Financial Services

£32000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, inte...

Recruitment Genius: Supply Chain Administrator

£8000 - £10800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Supply Chain Administrator is ...

Recruitment Genius: Client IT Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client IT Account Manager is ...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor