THERE was no hesitation from Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell when handing Rangi Chase the captaincy for his final game in club colours tomorrow.
Regular leader Michael Shenton misses the last match of the season at Wakefield with a knee injury that requires the ex-England centre to wear a brace for the next six weeks at least.
So, stand-off Chase, whose long-expected move to Salford City Reds was finally confirmed on Thursday, takes over the role as he brings a close to his brilliant five-year career with the West Yorkshire outfit.
“He will captain the team and has been in unbelievable form since I’ve been at the club,” admitted Powell.
“Pretty much every game Rangi’s been outstanding. That’s testimony to his concentration and character that he’s been able to do that. Obviously it’s disappointing he’s decided to leave the club, but he wants a fresh challenge.
“I can understand that and wish him all the best. I know the Castleford fans will be the same.”
Undoubtedly, no Castleford supporter could begrudge Chase his move – even if they may think it is the wrong one – given the magic he has so often delivered since signing from St George-Illawarra in 2009.
As it stands, the England ace will look to sign off with a fourth successive win and potentially see them finish as high as ninth, some effort given they were bottom when Powell took charge in May.
Neither side tomorrow can get into the play-offs and Wakefield are reeling from their latest financial catastrophe.
But Powell insisted: “It’s a local derby, which is a massive game for both clubs.
“Wakefield have obviously had some pretty disappointing things happen to them recently, which I think will galvanise them.
“I watched them play at Huddersfield last week and even though they lost reasonably heavily I thought they worked hard.
“They are a good group and Rich Agar is a good coach who has done a solid job there. I don’t think any team he coaches will come out sloppy or not trying – that just doesn’t happen in rugby league anyway.
“I don’t think it will matter what’s happened there, they will be pretty determined to finish the season well.”
On top of Shenton’s absence, meanwhile, the visitors have lost leading tryscorer Justin Carney to a dislocated shoulder and fellow Australian Grant Millington who has undergone ankle surgery.
Young Academy back-row Ryan Backhouse could debut for Castleford. with Ben Johnston included for the first time this year and Richard Owen, James Clare and Charlie Martin also in contention.