Harris sets lofty target
Crusaders RL coach Iestyn Harris has set his bottom-of-the-table team a minimum target of four wins from their last six Engage Super League matches, starting with the visit of Castleford Tigers tomorrow.
The Wrexham club are currently four points adrift of fellow strugglers Wakefield Trinity Wildcats after both clubs were docked four points for going into administration.
But Harris is hoping his players can halve the deficit tomorrow and give themselves a chance of climbing off the foot of the table when they take on the Wildcats in their next match on July 31.
“We are determined to pull ourselves off the bottom of the table and finish the season strongly,” said Harris, who is in his first season in charge at the Racecourse Ground.
“Everyone is focused on doing that – the boys have trained as good as they have this season and there is a real commitment from each other to get ourselves off the bottom.
“We’ve got six games left and that is 12 points to play for. We definitely think that four of the six are definitely winnable and the other two are achievable.
“Everyone at the club wants to end the season strongly – it has been a tough year so we need to end the season strongly.”
Harris has recalled six of the seven players suspended a week ago for a breach of club discipline and says changes he implemented in mid-season are beginning to have an effect.
“We’ve changed the structure over the last five or six weeks and the squad has responded well to that,” he added.
“The players are looking a lot smoother in training and a lot more comfortable with it. I feel as though we are nearly there.
“It is important that we perform in front of the home fans. They have stuck with us through some pretty tough times this year.”
Jarrod Sammut, Jason Chan, Lloyd White, Gil Dudson, Richard Moore and Jordan Tansey have the chance to atone for a breach of discipline but Peter Lupton is unavailable due to injury.
Second rower Hep Cahill is back after serving a one-match ban. Gareth Thomas is out with a broken arm and prop Mark Bryant has a “dead leg”.
Castleford face a big test without star player Rangi Chase, who loses his ever-present record after being banned for punching during last Sunday’s 34-30 win over Bradford Bulls.
Coach Terry Matterson is without poised to give a debut to loan signing Ben Davies, who takes the place of namesake John, while youngsters Oliver Holmes and Daryl Clark are also in the frame.
Harlequins RL back row forward Jason Golden is poised to make his first appearance of the season in tomorrow’s other match against Warrington Wolves.
The former Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield player is named in coach Rob Powell’s 19-man squad for the first time after recovering from a troublesome groin injury sustained during pre-season training.
Quins, who lost 82-6 at Warrington in March, are also boosted by the return of hooker Chad Randall and winger Chris Melling following ankle and rib injuries respectively.
Warrington have stand-off Lee Briers back from a two-match absence with a calf injury but captain Adrian Morley is still suffering from a head injury.