Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell reckons his side will have to “significantly improve“ on their last two displays if they are to gain revenge for their controversial narrow defeat by Catalans Dragons at the start of the season.
The Tigers lost 13-12 in France and had a perfectly good Denny Solomona try ruled out for offside despite it going to the video referee.
Since then both sides have suffered from a lack of consistency, but they are in Super League’s top eight ahead of their return meeting at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday (kick-off 3.30pm) with the Dragons two places and one point behind sixth-placed Cas.
Many pundits tipped Catalans to challenge for the title this year and Tigers head coach Powell rates them as a dangerous side.
He told the Express: “Catalans have been a little bit up and down, like many in the competition. Their away form hasn’t been great, but they’re hard to beat at home.
“It will be a really interesting second half of the season to see which teams can get some consistency. But they’re a good side and have got plenty of good players across the board so it will certainly be a tough game.
“They’ve got international players all over their team, people like Todd Carney and Willie Tonga playing in the centres.
“Their back rowers, Whitehead and Taia, are a real threat and with Henderson and Pelissier in the middle they are a threat as well every time they get the ball.
“It’s going to be a difficult game and we know we have to improve significantly on our last two performances to get the result.
“They’re a really big side so we know we’re going to have front up, but our pack has been pretty good this year so I’d expect them to front up again.”
Powell has been forced to use the full extent of his squad in recent weeks because of a lengthy injury list and admits not all the players coming in have risen to the occasion.
He said: “It’s been mixed with the players who have come in. Some players have done really well, others have disappointed a little bit.
“We’ve got a lot of players who aren’t playing consistently well and that’s why we’re a little bit up and down. But there’s different reasons for that, people coming back from injuries and things like that.
“We haven’t had a settled team yet and that’s been a little bit frustrating, but that’s the way it goes.
“There’s been some players who’ve done really well – Frankie Mariano, for example, came back and had two really strong games before he got injured.”