Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell declared himself pleased with the way his team stepped up their performance in the second half to win their first game of the 2014 Super League season.
While admitting there were a few aspects of the display at Bradford that needed working on, the head coach was impressed with the way the Tigers toughed it out and finished strongly.
Powell said: “It was crucial we won the game and we fronted up and made sure we got the job done when it was a pretty tough one.
“The performance was a little bit mixed, but overall I was pleased.
“It took us a little bit of time to break them down, but I thought we were on a little bit of a hiding to nothing, to be honest, having beaten them so convincingly two weeks before.
“The motivation lied heavily in their corner and it took us a while to break their spirit, but I was confident we would if we maintained our composure and kept working hard.
“We knew there would be a response from Bradford and we’d have to aim up and I thought we did that. I’m pleased with the way we responded in the second half from being level at half-time.
“The players had a good attitude for the main part. They came at us, which we expected, and we had to front up.
“I was really pleased that when we needed to respond and step up we really did that.”
Powell outlined the Tigers’ hard work on their fitness in pre-season as a big factor along with the work they are doing on their defence on the training pitch.
He said: “You are always looking for your team to be fit and focused and I think we look really fit.
“Defensively to restrict them to three tries – and two of those were from kicks – was pleasing.
“There were some areas we could improve on defensively, but overall it was pleasing, while still recognising that there is still some work to do.
“We’ll keep working hard on our game and you are just looking to improve every time you go out on the field.”
Powell thought it was a good team effort, but reserved words of praise for several players.
He added: “Daryl Clark was really good. Some of things he did were really exceptional.
“Scott Wheeldon was also exceptional and gave us a big lift when he came on in the first half.
“Our pack in the second half were superb. Our big men caused a hell of a lot of trouble down the middle of the field. Our half-backs had good control.
“Overall it was a good team performance, within it we’ve got some smart players.
“As a team we’re growing all the time. There’s some quality things happening out there.