Powell: Leeds win rewarded ‘exceptional’ Castleford fans

Castleford fans at Headingley.
Castleford fans at Headingley.
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Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell is delighted the team was able to reward supporters with a second night to remember at Headingley.

Having been on both sides of the divide Powell knows well the rivalry between Castleford and Leeds and knows just how much it means for the fans to have seen the Tigers beat the Rhinos 2-1 in games this season – winning both of the away games.

He told the Express: “You know that Cas fans really don’t like Leeds fans and they don’t like the Leeds club.

“I’ve been involved at Leeds and know what a great club it is, but the rivalry is quite bitter and quite deep so for us to be able to beat Leeds twice for the fans as much as anything is awesome.

“It rewards their loyalty and their support, which has been exceptional since I came here.”

Powell put the 29-22 victory down to a change in mentality from his side, improved defence and the way they dealt with the Rhinos’ danger men.

He said: “I thought it was a really good quality performance both with and without the ball.

“We looked after their key threats, Briscoe and Hall to start with, as well as Hardaker. And then Cuthbertson who offloads the ball more than anyone in the comp by over double I think.

“He’s got three against us this year so we really worked hard to shut him down.

“To beat them twice away from home hasn’t happened for 40 years so it’s a big achievement for us to be able to do that to Leeds.

“Some people will say they have been a little bit off since they went to Wembley, but we’ve been good against them twice now and I thought the way we played was testimony to the type of side we have become.”

Powell praised the attitude of his players and the way they have kept going this season to earn a fifth place finish.

He added: “The boys have been great and have been upbeat all the way through.

“Even when we lost three straight games the attitude’s been great.

“We were in all those games apart from the 10 minutes with a man down against Huddersfield and the start against St Helens.

“But we came back and played really well against Leeds.

“After the Leeds performance it gives us a fair bit of encouragement that we can continue to compete at the highest level.”