England star Luke Gale has dismissed talk that the smaller pitch at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle is giving Castleford Tigers a big advantage.
The Castleford pitch is 10 metres shorter than the biggest Super League ground, but width wise is broadly the same and Gale reckons coaches who complain about the size are “just making excuses”.
Cas are unbeaten in matches at the Wheldon Road ground this year as they have been making home advantage tell, but it is the same ground where they were beaten seven times last year.
Gale said: “I’m not sure about this talk about a small pitch because we play expansive football so you’d think it would count against us.
“The thing about a small pitch is that you finish in good ball a lot more than you do on bigger pitches. Our good ball kicking is probably a big part of our game and probably it helps us.
“We seem to play the pitch really well, but you would do playing at home, you play on it more than anybody else.
“A few coaches have come here and said oh it’s the pitch and it’s just an excuse really, you are playing on the same grass. It’s just a pitch at the end of the day.”
Gale, meanwhile, was pleased with the way his team-mates stood up to their latest challenge to bounce back against Leeds Rhinos after being knocked out of the Challenge Cup the previous week.
He said: “Obviously it was a real good response after the disappointment at Hull to back up with a win against Leeds.
“It probably gets overlooked because of the way we play, but we’ve got the best defensive record in the competition.
“It was tough conditions last Friday and you needed to defend. We did that and will be same again this Friday.”
When asked if the pre-match comments by Rhinos coach Brian McDermott had given the Tigers extra motivation, Gale added; “I don’t read the press, to be honest. I think Powelly might have done!
“We knew Leeds would be up for it. We’d beaten them twice this year and they were looking for revenge.
“I think our boys stood up real well to that.”