Castleford [VIDEO] have had a number of problems in 2018; injuries to key players such as Luke Gale and Ben Roberts has stripped the Tigers of their half-back pairing that worked so well in 2017, whilst the absence of Zak Hardaker and the decision not to replace him before the season began has come to bite the Tigers on the backside.

Greg Eden has spent what seems an age on the sideline with a hamstring injury whilst Greg Minikin has been ruled out for months and Alex Foster for the rest of the season. Most of the squad has been in and out of the side, meaning the Tigers have had far from a settled season, but even with a fully fit team, Castleford [VIDEO] could do with a shrewd recruitment program going into 2019.

Castleford fullback

The No.1 position has been Castleford's achilles heel in 2018; Ben Roberts, Jake Trueman, Michael Shenton and Calum Turner have all tried their hand at fullback with only the latter looking comfortable. Quentin Laulu-Togaga'e joined the Tigers at the end of May from Championship outfit Halifax, but at the age of 33 and with next to no Super League experience, Castleford's problem is still far from solved.

The past few years have shown just how important the fullback position is for this Castleford side; Zak Hardaker had a stellar year in 2018 whilst Luke Dorn was magnificent in the three years prior to Hardaker's signing. Both were superb attacking players and both were masters in directing the defence. The signing of QLT makes sense in the short-term, but the Tigers must delve into the transfer market and sign a fullback for 2019 and beyond if they want to be competing for silverware consistently.

Tiger's wing

Before the season started, the Tigers had six wingers: Greg Eden, Greg Minikin, James Clare, Jy Hitchcox, Garry Lo and Kieran Gill. This, at the time, seemed a ridiculous amount of wingers to have. But Lo is no longer at the club, Hitchcox will depart at the end of the year whilst Eden, Minikin and Clare have suffered long-term injuries in 2018. Clare's contract runs out at the end of the year and although he's been steady whenever he's played, the Tigers need more firepower on the edges.

Eden is a brilliant winger and should rightly take one of the spots available in 2019, but Minikin has had something of an inconsistent year. Playing with injury for much of the season, the former York star has failed to hit the heights of 2017. Whilst there is no debating Minikin's talent, his defensive positioning is sometimes found wanting and his lack of pace and ability to finish in the corner is a problem for a side wanting to challenge for honours.

The Tigers should perhaps be on the lookout for a first-choice winger to play opposite Greg Eden, if not that then at least a very good back-up for Greg Minikin.

Centre

Castleford's whole three-quarter line could do with improvement. Jake Webster and Michael Shenton have been regulars for the Tigers in the centres since they both joined the club ahead of the 2013 season, but both have appeared lacklustre in 2018. Webster is 34 and Shenton 31, and whilst the latter may still have a few years left in him, Webster is certainly coming to the end of his career. Even if the former Kiwi international is given another contract for 2019, Castleford still need to bring in a centre to freshen things up.

Youngster Tuoyo Egodo is waiting in the wings for an opportunity, but it still looks as though head coach Daryl Powell [VIDEO]does not fully trust him to take a regular spot in the side.

Stand-off

Ben Roberts has been sat on the sidelines for most of the season, Yorkshire Evening Post noted. His track record with injuries has been far from clean. Now aged 32, it could be time to wave goodbye to one of Castleford's highest earners. Jamie Ellis and Jake Trueman are both capable of playing stand-off - the latter has done well this year despite being chucked in at the deep end following Luke Gale's injury - but the Tigers must recruit a player that can both compliment Gale and improve the Tigers squad.

It is no surprise that when Roberts was fit in 2017, the Tigers were a much better team on the field, but the Samoan international spends far too much time off it and it could be time to look elsewhere for the right man to partner reigning Man of Steel Gale. Jamie Ellis is far too inconsistent whilst Jake Trueman is young and raw and needs more time to develop before he becomes a regular first-team player for the Tigers.

No forwards needed

All of Castleford's problems stem from the backline - their forward pack is one of the best in Super League. A team that has the likes of Liam Watts, Grant Millington, Junior Moors, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Paul McShane, Mike McMeeken and Matt Cook in their ranks is a very formidable one indeed; strengthen the backline and silverware will be within their grasp in 2019.