It’s not just about Carney, says Castleford coach

Michael Shenton, who impressed for Castleford Tigers against Catalan Dragons. Picture: ANDY MAY
Michael Shenton, who impressed for Castleford Tigers against Catalan Dragons. Picture: ANDY MAY

While hat-trick hero Justin Carney came in for many of the headlines following Castleford Tigers’ 32-6 victory over Catalan Dragons, head coach Daryl Powell has delivered plenty of words of praise for his other stars after an outstanding team display.

Powell believes there is still room for improvement on the performance against the French side, but he was pleased with the attitude of all the players and happy with the way they have started the season.

He said: “At the start of the season, you think you know what you’re going to get, but you don’t really know. The last two performances have shown that we’ve got a little bit of something about us.

“Defensively, we’ve got to be happy with only conceding six points against a team that has been outstanding in Super League over the last few years.

“We’ve also scored over 30 points in our first two games. Quite a few people doubted that we would be able to score points after who we had lost and who we had recruited and we answered a few of those questions, so I am pretty pleased with the overall effort.

“Having said that, I think there’s plenty of room for improvement as well, so we’re not going to fall in love with ourselves too much but there are some good signs there.”

Powell thought all the players had contributed, but picked out several for praise.

He said: “Justin Carney’s certainly a handful. There were times when he wasn’t given much space and he made something happen - that’s the qualities that he has as an athlete. He’s a difficult player to handle, no doubt about that.

“It’s not just about stopping Justin Carney for our opposition. He’s been great, but Daryl Clark has been fantastic at the start of the season. He’s a bit of a freak of an athlete and as a player he’s getting better all the time.

“He’s certainly stepped up from last season when I thought he was a very, very good player but he’s fantastic this year. I thought that he was our best player last week and came close to it again this week. He’s a great player.

“He just plays in the middle and gets his hands on the ball. He’s good out the back on plays, the way the game is played nowadays, when you’re passing round the back he’s equally as good on those type of plays as he is around the ruck.

“We pretty much give him a free role to be honest and allow him to get around the field.

“Michael Shenton was unbelievable at the weekend as well and that’s the best game I’ve seen him have for a long time. His confidence is high.

“Michael Channing is playing great on the other side and our forward pack’s been great so if you watch us there’s a lot of things to deal with as an opposition coach and that’s something we want in our game.

Liam Finn has also been great for us and looks at home in Super League. As soon as he came in the boys took to him and he has showed a lot of confidence. He’s handled the step up defensively pretty well and his organisational qualities are outstanding.”