Castleford aim to stay focused

Terry Matterson
Terry Matterson
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CASTLEFORD Tigers boss Terry Matterson is confident his team will not get carried away by their flying start to the season.

Tigers made it six wins from seven and pleased the head coach with the way they “won ugly” in edging out Hull 20-18 in a hot atmosphere at the KC Stadium. They are level on points at the top with Warrington and Huddersfield and have a game in hand, but Matterson is working to ensure the players keep their feet on the ground.

He told the Express: “We’re doing really well at the moment, but we are under no illusions that the season is long and sustained victories are the mark of how good a team you are.

“It doesn’t interest me where we are in the table at the moment. If we have a similar win percentage by about round 15 then it’s worth looking at, you are talking about a consistent team over a long period of time.

“It’s important we stay focused and continue to do the little things that have helped us get in this position.

“If not we can come unstuck against Salford on Sunday. They have been playing some good rugby, although they lost to Crusaders last week.

“Ratchford’s been going great for them, Holdsworth’s a very good player and they’ve got a big pack of forwards so they’ll be coming here with some confidence. They’ll be looking to bounce back and we need to be very wary of them.

“It’s taken them a while to get into their stride, but they have improved. They’ve made some big signings and guys like Chris Nero, Stephen Wild and Wayne Godwin are good players.”

Castleford will be aiming to maintain an unbeaten 2011 home record buoyed by their first away win at Hull in a game that showed they were learning how to dig out a result.

“I was really pleased we came away with a win on the road last week because we came up short at Bradford and a few people were saying some things,” said Matterson.

“We didn’t want to make too much fuss about it, but it was important to get an away win under our belts. But it’s good to be back at home this week.

“It doesn’t matter where we’re playing, we’re looking to win, but we certainly enjoy playing at home, we know the ground and it should be of benefit to us. It’s nice we’ve got a bit of a run going in front of our own fans.

“It’s good we are winning in different ways. Last week’s game was probably the kind we wouldn’t have won last year. We’re a lot more mature team and we’re used to winning at the moment, which helps.”

Matterson was pleased to come out of such a bruising battle at Hull with no fresh injuries and he expects to have winger Nick Youngquest available again after he missed the trip to the KC Stadium with a quad injury.

Whether he comes straight back in is one of several selection posers for the coach, who is also aware of the claims of a recall for back row forwards Steve Snitch and Oliver Holmes.

Young utility back Jordan Thompson is also back at the club after a loan spell with York and could come into the reckoning as Willie Isa picked up a one match ban and was fined £300 after being found guilty of making dangerous contact with Hull’s Epalahame Lauaki in the 34th minute of last Friday’s game.

Matterson was disappointed at the decision, but has options to replace Isa against Salford.

He added: “We’ve been pretty successful with Brett Ferres at centre so that would be the logical choice.

“I’m thinking about changes elsewhere. We have got a nine-day turnaround before the Salford game, but then we’ve got Harlequins five days later. We’re also looking at some areas we can better in and Steve Snitch and Olly Holmes will come into contention after playing in the under 20s last week to get some match fitness.

“They are going to be there or thereabouts and I’m thinking hard about whether to use them or not.”