Despite the disappointment of a one-point defeat at Huddersfield Giants last weekend Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell remains upbeat about his team ahead of another big test against First Utility Super League leaders Leeds Rhinos this week.
Powell is pleased that his side are proving a test themselves for the big sides this year with none of their three defeats so far being by a margin greater than seven points.
While admitting the Tigers face another major challenge against the in-form Rhinos he once played for and coached, he believes that Leeds will also be regarding tomorrow night’s game as a big one for them as well.
Powell said: “I think we’re good enough to challenge Leeds, but we are going to need to be right on the money.
“We’ve got to be confident in what we can deliver, go out there and play our game.
“We’ve got some good players, we can challenge teams right across the park, the signs so far this have been positive in that regard.
“We know we’re a good side and we’ve got a fair bit of belief in ourselves, but we know we need to step up to another level to get over the top of Leeds.
“You look at their back line they are strong everywhere, but our left side has been particularly strong this year. I’m sure Leeds will be mindful of that - but sometimes it doesn’t matter how mindful you are when Carney’s got the ball in his hands.
“This is a big challenge for us. It’s not perfect preparation to play a team like Leeds with a short turnaround and it’s our third short turnaround in pretty quick succession.
“It’s not ideal, but I keep saying it’s there and there’s not a lot we can do about it so there’s no point complaining about it.
“We need to start well, we say that every week. We did that last week and couldn’t quite go on with it, but we are going to need to go on with it for 80 minutes against Leeds.”
Powell reckons the players have quickly got over the disappointment of their Huddersfield defeat, but it was two points that got away.
He added: ““We started the game really well and were 12-0 up, but then a couple of errors allowed them back into the game a little bit.
“It was a little bit frustrating then obviously we lost the game to a drop-goal at the end so we were really disappointed with that.
“But we haven’t got an awful lot of time to dwell on it.
“The boys have trained really well again and the attitude’s been fantastic again.
“We’re pretty close to the top teams in the comp so we’re pleased that we’re in the battles, but we want to come out the other side of them really.
“We won a couple of close tussles early on in the season and we’ve lost a couple of close ones since then.”