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West Yorkshire sides set to start Super League

The Super League season is set to kick off this afternoon for our region's teams.

Huddersfield are at home to Hull FC, with Leeds travelling to Hull KR.

Meanwhile Castleford start their season with a clash against their fierce local rivals Wakefield.

Both Tigers boss Daryl Powell and Wildcats Head Coach are looking forward to starting the campaign with a derby.


Tigers star Kirk Dixon retires

Castleford Tigers winger Kirk Dixon has announced his immediate retirement after surgery to replace a disk in his neck.

Tigers star Kirk Dixon retires Credit: Press Association

The 30-year-old, who has played for the Tigers since 2007 said that the surgery has brought forward the decision he was likely to make at the end of the 2015 season.

Last season Dixon scored 12 tries in 19 games as the Tigers finished fourth in the Super League and reached the Challenge Cup final.

I’ve had surgery to remove a disk and I’ve had an artificial disk put in there and it was going to be at least a six months no contact rehab period, That would have taken up most of this season and prior to the surgery I already had an idea that I might retire at the end of the 2015 season. But it has come to an end now and you simply can’t put a price on your health. It’s certainly not the way I wanted to go out. All I can say is a massive thank you to the Castleford fans. They’ve welcomed me from day one even though I am a codhead, they’ve not held that against me. The people here are fantastic. We’ve had some seasons where there really hasn’t been much to shout about but they’ve still been here supporting us. It’s really humbling as players to know that we’ve got these great people supporting us. My family love coming here, there’s two great clubs in Hull they could support but it’s all about Cas for us, so from me and my family it’s a massive thank you and I will look forward to getting behind the boys from the terraces with you all.

– Kirk Dixon

Kirk Dixon has been a consummate professional for Castleford Tigers over many years. His work rate and attention to detail in his practice has been absolutely superb during my time at the club. I know everyone connected with the playing and coaching staff will be hugely disappointed with Kirk leaving the club however everyone's time as a player has to end and Kirk is leaving with everyone's best wishes and moving on to the next chapter in his life. I wish him the very best in his new challenge and thank him for everything he done for the Tigers, it has been a real pleasure to work with him.

– Daryl Powell, Castleford Tigers coach

Castleford coach fined for criticising referee

Castleford coach Daryl Powell has been fined by the Rugby Football League for publicly criticising referee James Child.

Powell hit out at the official following his side's 41-0 defeat by St Helens in last Friday's qualifying play-off tie at Langtree Park.

"We couldn't get anything from the referee, who I thought was horrendous, although I say that every time I see him referee," Powell said.

Fine for Daryl Powell Credit: PA

The Tigers boss revealed at his weekly press conference on Tuesday that his comments had cost him a £500 fine, half of which is suspended.

Meanwhile, Powell is set to make changes for his side's sudden-death semi-final against Warrington at the Jungle on Thursday.

Powell will definitely be without centre Jake Webster after he sustained head knocks in each of the last two games, so Michael Channing is set to deputise, but the coach is optimistic that prop Lee Jewitt will be fit after sitting out the Saints game through injury.

Hull-bound Marc Sneyd looks set for a recall after being dropped for the last match as Powell looks to halt the club's late-season mini slump.


Tigers humiliated as Saints romp to victory

James Roby made Castleford pay for his Super League Dream Team omission with a superb man-of-the-match performance that keeps St Helens on course for a place in the Grand Final.

Daryl Powell watched his Tigers side fall to a 41-0 defeat Credit: Press Association

Castleford's rising star Daryl Clark got the nod for the hooking role in the Dream Team ahead of the England regular, who demonstrated all his old skill with two early tries and an all-round industrious display to which Castleford had no answer.

It was routine for Saints, who were presented with the League Leaders' Shield before kick-off, as they moved effortlessly to within 80 minutes of a return to Old Trafford with a clinical 41-0 victory at Langtree Park.

St Helens' seven-try triumph - in which Dream Team winger Tom Makinson scored on his 100th appearance - earned them next week off and they will also get the chance to select their home semi-final opponents via the controversial ClubCall system.

Castleford, who missed the chance to pip Saints to top spot by losing to Catalan Dragons in their final league game, will have another chance to reach the last four in next week's elimination semi-finals but - like Huddersfield after the first qualifying play-off - will need to find a vastly improvement if they are get back on course for a maiden Grand Final appearance.

Tigers coach Daryl Powell responded to their mini-slump by dropping stand-off Marc Sneyd, one of the stars of the season, in favour of Jamie Ellis while Australian winger Justin Carney made an unexpected return in place of the injured James Clare.

Saints coach Nathan Brown also sprung a surprise by switching second rower Mark Flanagan to scrum-half. He acquitted himself well but it was Roby who the star of the show.

Clark began the match on the bench - with Adam Milner preferred as the Tigers' starting hooker - and entered the action midway through the first half moments after Roby had broken the deadlock by forcing his way over for the game's first try.

Five minutes later Roby repeated the feat, this time from 10 metres out, and Mark Percival kicked his second conversion to make it 12-0. Saints let slip a 10-0 lead in their last match but they soaked up Castleford pressure to keep their line intact up to the break and increased their advantage of the stroke of half-time with a drop goal from Jordan Turner.

Any hope of a Castleford fightback was snuffed out within five minutes of the restart when Roby worked a run-around with Sia Soliola to free Turner, who sprinted 50 metres for Saints' third try.

Roby then became trysaver when he managed to get his leg in the way to prevent Castleford centre Michael Channing touching down after a rare breach of the Saints defence.

Trailing 19-0, the visitors were forced to chance their arm and it cost them another try when St Helens winger Adam Swift, a replacement for the injured Matty Dawson, picked up a loose ball and went 70 metres for a solo score.

The home side were denied a penalty try when skipper Paul Wellens was pulled back while chasing Roby's grubber kick to the line but Castleford captain Michael Shenton was sin-binned for the offence and Saints took advantage of the extra man to increase their lead.

Makinson took Percival's pass to cross at the corner and, as the Tigers began to tire, front-row forwards Kyle Amor and Mose Masoe both demonstrated brute strength to force their way over for close-range tries.

Percival took his goal tally to six from seven attempts to wrap up a convincing victory.

St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford Tigers

Sport now and in Rugby, Castleford Tigers now only have one more chance to make it through to the grand final play off after being hammered by St Helens tonight.

It is the Tigers' fourteenth successive loss to Saints, who clocked up 13 points in the first half. Castelford failed to threaten the Saints' try line and the score finished 41-0.

Shenton relishes a week off

Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton says his side would relish the opportunity to have a week off.

Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton Credit: Press Association

Along with Challenge Cup winners Leeds Rhinos , the Tigers have played every week of the season since mid-February and they are hoping they can book their semi-finalplace at the first attempt when they take on St Helens tonight, especially having twice failed to secure silverware over the last month.

Beaten by the Rhinos at Wembley in August, Castleford let the League Leaders' Shield slip through grasp when losing 28-6 to the Catalans last Saturday but Shenton is confident they can still salvage something tangible from a season that promised so much.

We did a bit of sulking on the way back from France but, in the grand scheme of things, we should be proud of what we've achieved this season.

"Top four is a real achievement. It gives us either a week off or a second chance but the week is off is the one we'll be looking for because we haven't had one all year, we'd like that.

"There is so much more we can achieve this season if we get ourselves out of this little hole we've got ourselves into, this little slump of form.

"I think the pressure is off us, the pressure is on Saints a little bit more than it is on us. We'll just go and play, enjoy our rugby and give ourselves a good chance.

"We've had big challenges all year and most of the time managed to put good performances together. We will start afresh and go there real confident.

"The character is great in our team. The defeats hurt and I've not seen that for a long time at Castleford."

– Michael Shenton, Castleford Tigers captain
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