After passing their first test at Bradford last weekend Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell is backing his players to step up another level when they face their first home game of the new season this Sunday.
Powell expects a tough challenge from Catalan Dragons when they arrive at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle for Sunday’s 3.30 kick-off, but is pleased with the way the Tigers side is shaping up ahead of their bid to make it two wins from two in Super League 2014.
He told the Express: “Overall we were pleased with the way we played at Bradford, but we are looking to step up this week.
“We want to build on the first win now and it’s a good opportunity for us at home.
“Catalan are a good side, but we’ve got to believe that we’ve got what you need to get the job done.
“We face a severe challenge from Catalan. They will be disappointed they didn’t get the result last week so we’ve got some work to do to make sure we nullify the significant threat that they’ve got.
“They’ve got good players in every position and it’s important that we start well and we maintain our discipline and focus because they can certainly hurt you and have got loads of quality across the field.
“They’ve got a big pack and are a threat up the middle of the field with Henderson a key man within that.
“From a forward point of view he will put you under a lot of pressure with his running game. We need to be aware of the threat he poses.
“Catalan have got good half-backs as well, whoever plays. Scott Dureau didn’t play last week, but he could be back and Leon Pryce is a real threat along with Thomas Bosc with his passing game and kicking game – he’s a very good player.
“The young kid Escare at the back is very quick and they’ve got some high quality players all over the team.
“They’ve brought some players in from overseas, people like Ben Pomeroy in the centre, who’s been a good player in the NRL for quite a good few years.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us, but I think our confidence is growing at the moment and we’ve got to make sure we take a step in the right direction.”
Powell wants Sunday’s game to be the start of making the Mend-A-Hose Jungle something of a fortress for Castleford.
He said: “Everyone’s looking forward to our first home game of the season now and your home games are always important.
“It’s a special place when Castleford Tigers play their home games. It’s got a really great atmosphere at this ground and with the spectators it’s got a feel of its own.
“Everyone loves playing here and we’ve got to make sure that the opposition don’t like playing here too much this year.”
With no new injuries, Powell may decide to stick with the same team that did the job in the 36-18 victory over Bradford Bulls, but he has options with Richard Owen and Jordan Tansey the unlucky men from the initial 19-man squad to miss out last week and experienced players Ashley Gibson, Brett Seymour, Jamie Ellis in reserve.
However, Cas will still be without injured forwards Ryan Boyle, Lee Gilmour and Nathan Massey as well as centre Jake Webster and outside back James Clare.
Powell added: “I haven’t decided on the squad for this week yet. I’ll have a look at it and make a decision on Thursday or Friday what the team’s going to be.
“There won’t be many changes, but there may be one or two.
“We’re okay injury-wise. There’s a couple with bumps and bruises we’ve got to look after, but pretty much we were okay out of the game.”