Castleford Tigers’ Luke Gale shrugs off criticism from Wigan coach Shaun Wane

Luke Gale, playing for Castleford against Wigan in the Challenge Cup quarterfinal on Saturday. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)
Luke Gale, playing for Castleford against Wigan in the Challenge Cup quarterfinal on Saturday. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)
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CASTLEFORD Tigers captain Luke Gale says he is not “paying attention” to Wigan Warriors boss Shaun Wane’s complaints about his inclusion in their Challenge Cup quarter-final tie.

The scrum-half wasn’t named in Daryl Powell’s original 19-man squad last Thursday but had a fitness test on his injured ankle the following day and was drafted in in time for Saturday’s game at DW Stadium.

Wigan Warriors head coach, Shaun Wane

Wigan Warriors head coach, Shaun Wane

It didn’t have the desired effect – Castleford still lost 26-12 – but Wane revealed afterwards that his players were “very, very motivated” in part due to the “illegal” change and also after Powell had complained about referee Ben Thaler’s performance when Wigan won at Wheldon Road earlier this season.

Gale, who had missed Tigers’ previous match against Hull FC with the injury, said: “I wasn’t even aware of what he’d said.

“Illegal? I don’t know about that. I don’t really listen to what coaches say in the media, though, to be fair.

“Often it’s just them having a go at each other so I don’t pay much attention.

“And my ankle’s pretty sore, to be honest. I wasn’t always going to play but it was a quarter-final of a Challenge Cup and I’d have played on a broken leg if I could.

“But I had to make sure I was right and make sure it was no daft, rash decision.

“I have got a grade two tear of my ligament so it was quite painful when I woke up Sunday morning but I’ll rest up now and get right for Salford on Friday.”

In-form Gale, who hopes to make his England debut in the Four Nations later this year, had no qualms with Wigan’s victory, however.

The Warriors were 22-0 ahead by half-time, crushing the visitors’ hopes of repeating their famous quarter-final win there two years earlier when they made it all the way to Wembley. “Wigan were the better team; they played with a simple game-plan, completed at 100 per cent in that first half and their scramble defence was outstanding,” said Gale. “We just couldn’t quite take our opportunities.

“We couldn’t back up our own defence, they got us in the arm-wrestle and just ground us down.

“To be 22 points down at half-time in a quarter-final is too much to claw back.

“We gave them a bit of a game in the second period but could never put them under the sort of pressure they did with us.”

Gale, who turned 28 last week, admits it showed the difference in class from a Wigan side who sit in second compared to a talented but inconsistent Castleford, who currently reside in seventh spot.

“It was massively disappointing, to be honest,” conceded the 2015 Dream Team No7.

“We just weren’t good enough. We fell short and it was disappointing. They taught us a lesson on how to defend.

“We can score points against any side but I think big games are won on simple game-plans, completing at a high percentage and defence, and we’re just not defending consistently well enough at the moment.”

New England coach Wayne Bennett wants to bring back a mid-season international in 2017.

Bennett put forward the proposal as part of his plans to help England end a 45-year wait for major silverware as they eye the 2017 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Bennett wants Super League clubs to agree to a mid-year break next season to enable him to organise an international match, with Dubai thought to be a possible location.

Richard Silverwood, rugby league’s longest-serving full-time referee, has been suspended after becoming the subject of an internal investigation, the game’s governing body has confirmed.

The Mirfield-based official has not refereed a match since the Super League Magic Weekend in Newcastle last month and a Rugby Football League spokesman said: “I can confirm Richard Silverwood is suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation.”