Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell rues Grant Millington injury and bizarre Liam Watts ban

CASTLEFORD TIGERS have lost Grant Millington for up to six weeks and head coach Daryl Powell is baffled at seeing fellow prop Liam Watts’ ban increased to two games.

Both experienced front-rows are out of Monday’s Super League game against Hull KR at Wheldon Road although fit-again winger James Clare will play his first match of the season.

Watts was handed a one-game suspension for a late hit on Salford Red Devils’ Elijah Taylor in Saturday’s narrow Challenge Cup quarter-final success.

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Having entered a guilty plea, the 30-year-old challenged the grading, but a tribunal went on to double the suspension for being a frivolous appeal.

Bemused Powell said: “I don’t know how he got two.

“He appealed but you can’t appeal now can you?

“That’s what they are after. I don’t understand it, to be honest. “Apparently it was a frivolous appeal. It’s a great word ‘frivolous’ isn’t it…?

“But I just think it’s wrong that you can’t appeal something. I always thought you were innocent until proven guilty.”

Castleford Tigers' Liam Watts in action against Salford at the weekend. (ALEX WHITEHEAD/SWPIX)

Watts had put a Tweet out saying ‘Games on its a*se if that’s a one match ban” following his original suspension.

Asked if that social media posting may have contributed to the panel ruling the appeal frivolous, Powell replied: “It shouldn’t have done should it?

“You wouldn’t want to have put that out there, I don’t think, but Wattsy’s Wattsy.

“He does things like that now and again. I texted him right away and said we’d appeal it and just keep it to yourself.

Castleford Tigers' Grant Millington (PAUL CURRIE/SWPIX)

“I don’t know...They are trying to stop late challenges on ball players. “They (disciplinary/match review panel) just need to be a bit more consistent for me.

“We’ve just got to take our medicine. What has happened has happened. “There’s nothing we can do about it now.

“Liam has just got to work hard as he was finding his form again.

“He’s got a couple of weeks off now which is disappointing. But we just have to get on.”

Missing Watts for games against Hull KR and Warrington Wolves is especially troublesome given Millington’s enforced absence.

The veteran Australian limped off against Salford and the prognosis is not good.

“It’s not great, to be honest,” conceded Powell.

“It will be four to six weeks we think with a knee injury.

“It’s disappointing but it’s a long season and we have quite a few middle men who can do a good job and some young boys in and around there who will be great for us.

“I’m looking forward to seeing some of those younger players back out there again.”

The likes of Lewis Bienek and Lewis Peachey could come into contention while the experienced Jesse Sene-Lefao was also an unused member of the 21-man squad against Salford.

Powell, whose side have won four of their five Super League games so far, added: “There’ll be a couple of changes in there but it’s not far off the same squad.

“The lads have had a bit more training time this week which has been good.”

He is looking forward to seeing Clare make his first appearance of the campaign following off-season knee surgery.

“Sticks is great,” he said, about the reliable 30-year-old wideman.

“He has a sense of humour. I love that about him. When he comes in he’s got a really different sense of humour, so aside from what he does on the field he brings something else.

“He was doing wolf howls the other week!

“He is consistent. You wouldn’t say he’s ever going to be one of the quickest players on the field as a winger but he does a lot of hard work.

“You know he’s good for 20 carries. He fights and he’s awkward to manage in contact so he gets the game quickened up.

“He’s consistent at challenging kicks. Some of the real fundamentals of a winger's game he is great at and consistent with.

“It’s great to see him back in. When a player’s been out for a long time and they get an opportunity, you’re always delighted to see them get that opportunity and I am looking forward to seeing him play next week.”

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