CASTLEFORD Tigers’ Daryl Clark will look to seize an early chance to get one over his rival for the England hooker’s jersey when they head to St Helens tomorrow.
James Roby has already won 21 caps for his country and another seven for Great Britain, having debuted for the Lions on the 2006 Tri-Nations tour Down Under.
The Saints rake is, of course, one of Super League’s most consistent forces and a Man of Steel winner in 2007 but young Clark’s form for the West Yorkshire club this season is eye-catching to say the least.
He got the opportunity to take a closer look at the 28-year-old Roby, having been called into Steve McNamara’s 34-man Four Nations training squad at Loughborough University earlier this week.
Clark admitted: “He (Roby) has made the shirt his own over the years through what he’s done in the sport.
“He’s a great player and if I could get out of the game half of what he’s done, I’d be more than happy.
“It’s a tough position. There’s four quality hookers (Wigan’s Michael McIlorum and Hull Kingston Rovers’s Josh Hodgson were also included) fighting for just that one spot.
“It’s going to be interesting when it comes down to selection but I’ll do everything I can to try put my name in that frame.”
Few would be surprised if the exciting uncapped 21-year-old did get the nod for the Four Nations tour, given his brilliance this term.
Castleford, who are into the Challenge Cup semi-finals and looking to draw level with joint-leaders Saints tomorrow, have been scintillating at times.
“Our forwards have been outstanding this season and it’s been good for me playing off the back of great players, moving forward and getting quick play the balls,” added Clark, as Castleford seek to remove the painful memory of a last-gasp home loss to Saints earlier this year.
“It was a real close game last time and we led for 60 or 70 minutes. It was the last play that got us but, if we turn up and play like we know we can, we have a chance of winning on Sunday.
“It’s very important we bounce back, too, after losing at Wigan. You don’t want to go back to back (defeats).”
Clark – who was not even born the last time Castleford won a league game at Saints in 1990 – is contracted at Wheldon Road until the end of 2017 but it is widely thought a move to Warrington Wolves is already sorted for next season.
Given his talent, he is used to such speculation, although he did little to douse it when questioned.
“I just concentrate on the here and now and what I’m doing this year,” said Clark, who is joined by Lynch, Marc Sneyd and Michael Shenton in returning tomorrow after being rested for last Friday’s trip to the DW Stadium.
“I’ll keep working hard with the team I’m with at the minute and take it every year as it comes and I’ll just see what happens at the end of the year.
“At the minute, I’m a Castleford player and I’ll be there for the end of the year and then, at the end of the year, I’ll see what my options are.”