Pleased Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell reckons Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup victory over Salford showed how much spirit there is in the camp as the team continues to cope with the absence of key players.
Eight first team squad members sat out the win, including captain Michael Shenton, player of the year Luke Gale, pack leader Andy Lynch and full-back Luke Dorn, who was forced to pull out just before kick-off after being named on the bench.
But Cas still found a way to win with several players stepping forward to have their best game of the year.
Powell said: “We’re starting to get our just desserts now.
“We’ve copped some unwarranted stick with 11 or 12 on the sidelines and we’ve got players finding their feet again.
“We showed there’s a fair bit of spirit in this group.
“It was a good team we still had out there when we looked at it.
“There’s a few people playing out of position and we’ve copped a fair bit of criticism for some of our selections but Paul McShane justified what we did.
“We looked great on the team-run, we looked like a team functioning well and we had to change the way we played.”
Powell praised the performance of McShane as an emergency scrum-half.
He added: “I thought Macca was exceptional. But as soon as we put him there I said ‘if we win, he’ll get man of the match’.
“He’s a composed player and when you play in a different position it brings something else out of you – I’ve experienced that in the past.
“Maybe half-backs aren’t as valuable as they think they are!”