Castleford Tigers v Hull FC: Denny Solomona keen for Luke Dorn return to kickstart Tigers’ home revival

Castleford Tigers' Denny Solomona
Castleford Tigers' Denny Solomona
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HULL FC might think otherwise but Denny Solomona, for one, is hoping Luke Dorn returns with Castleford Tigers tomorrow.

If the creative Australian full-back does pass fit in time for the visit of the in-form Super League leaders it means Solomona will be able to switch back to his more familiar role, thus making Castleford a more potent outfit.

Castleford Tigers'  Luke Dorn.

Castleford Tigers' Luke Dorn.

It is not that he does not like playing in the position – the 22-year-old actually arrived in the UK from the NRL as a full-back –but he concedes his colleague is a true master at it.

“Getting him back is a big boost for us as no one can do what Dorney does!” admitted Solomona, about the gifted 34-year-old who will, unfortunately for all lovers of instinctive football, retire at the end of this season.

“He’s just smart. He’s not the biggest or strongest full-back, but he’s the smartest in my eyes.

“To get in the positions he gets in, it’s tough to name another person that can do what Dorney does.”

Castleford did miss his influence when losing 38-28 against Widnes Vikings nine days ago, a fourth successive home defeat which has jeopardised their hopes of a top-four finish.

Daryl Powell’s side were beset by handling errors and lacked the polish Dorn brings.

Solomona operated at the back and said: “Obviously everyone gets put in a position at some point where they don’t usually play.

“But I came from Melbourne Storm as a full-back and obviously individually I wasn’t up to standard.

“I let the team down versus Widnes and hopefully can start putting things right now against Hull.”

The Aucklander is perhaps being harsh on himself there but, nevertheless, by returning to his wide role, Castleford should give themselves their best chance of ending Hull’s eight-match winning run.

Prolific Solomona has scored 24 tries in 18 games so far this term, thrilling crowds with some of his increasingly famous 
one-handed finishes that defy belief.

It is no surprise there are rumours that not only Super League rivals but NRL clubs back in Australia are monitoring his progress intently.

On those unreal finishes, Solomona insisted: “It is what it is; props run hard, wingers try and score tries.

“You work hard and just try and do your best to cross the line, that’s all the forwards ask from us really.

“As for the rumours, there’s been a lot of talk on that but, obviously, I’m signed for another two-to-three years here so everything else is just out the window.

“I’m happy here so why would I change that?

“We’ve got Michael Shenton on a long deal, just signed Luke Gale on a long deal, too, so I don’t see reason to change anything.”

The one thing Castleford do need to change is that home form.

Doing so against Hull tomorrow will be a formidable challenge given the form of Lee Radford’s side.

However, Castleford did beat them back in February when Solomona – Super League’s top scorer with 22 – grabbed a hat-trick during a dramatic 31-24 success at KC Stadium.

Furthermore, they have also not lost against the Black and Whites at Wheldon Road since 2012.

“We’re concentrating on ourselves, not too much on Hull FC,” maintained Solomona, who joined Castleford last season from London Broncos.

“We’re having a good look individually and as a team as it’s a crucial week for us to bounce back.

“There was a lot of mistakes against Widnes and you can’t give the likes of Kev Brown and Rhys Hanbury the ball like that.

“We gave them too much field position and basically handed the game over.

“If we do get victory on Sunday, it’d be a crucial win for us both on the table and as a team as a whole.

“If we can get up this week the morale of the club just boosts a lot more and then hopefully we can get more momentum rolling.”

Solomona continued: “Hull’s whole team offers threats. They have a lot of international players and a lot of skill, with Marc Sneyd there, Gaz Ellis, some big, strong forwards.

“We’ve got a big job on our hands to stop their go-forward and the smarts of Sneydy getting around us.

“They have the powerhouse Mahe Fonua at centre – I played with him at Melbourne and he’s freakishly strong but quick, too – and Fetuli Talanoa on the wing.

“We’ve got a big job to do when we hit that field.”

Meanwhile, given his vast progress since being released as a 19 year-old without playing a first-grade game at Melbourne, his former club must be regretting their decision?

“I think every team is like that,” insisted Solomona, whose electric pace has ruined so many Super League defences. Every team has a person like that where they go and do what they have to do.

“That’s the nature of the game – everyone has to go and make a living. I’m sure the young boys from Melbourne are all doing their job so I don’t think they’re too fussed.”

And Solomona has not ruled out eventually returning to the full-back role.

“At Melbourne, I ended up gaining weight didn’t I so out I went to the wing!” he recalled. “If I get put back there, obviously I’ve got a lot to work on.

“But at the moment I’m having a good season on the wing and I’m happy on the wing.

“If I have to fill in there, I’ll fill in there like everyone else would fill in any other spot if they can.”

Dorn is included in the 19-man squad and hoping to play after that recent setback but second-row Mike McMeeken is left out, Will Maher and Tom Holmes looking to force their way into the 17.

Hull have had some issues, losing captain Ellis (groin), fellow back-row Sika Manu (calf) and Talanoa (knee).

Former Castleford back-row Jordan Thompson, Dean Hadley and Curtis Naughton come in while Leon Pryce and Jansin Turgut are also added to the 19.