COACH Terry Matterson felt Castleford’s excellent defence was a key factor in Saturday’s 34-24 win over Catalan Dragons at Probiz Coliseum.
The unbeaten Tigers regained top spot in Super League with their fourth successive victory after restricting Catalan to a solitary second-half try.
The French side led 10-0 after eight minutes and were 18-12 up at half-time but Castleford roared back in great style.
Matterson (pictured) said: “Catalan caught us on the hop a bit at the start. They are a big, physical side and we were a bit soft. Our players were a bit disappointed at half-time and I was really pleased with their reaction in the second-half.
“Catalan scored a late try in the corner but our defence won the game for us today. We got a couple of long-range defensive tries from being in their face.
“We are really pleased with the way we are going and we are going to keep working hard.
“Our game is evolving and we learning how to play with our new players. We have some real speed on the wing and the team is coming togther nicely but we just have to keep a lid on it.”
Matterson was again pleased with youngsters Daryl Clark, Joe Arundel, Adam Milner and Oliver Holmes.
He said: “Our young guys probably went under the radar for a while. Everyone is ready for them now but they are still playing well so it’s pleasing.
“Daryl Clark was doing everything. Defensively he was really good and he such a level-headed kid.
“Joe Arundel hasn’t put a foot wrong and Oliver Holmes looks like a seasoned first-grader.
“It makes you really happy when you bring players through and into the system. If they are good enough they go in the side.
“We’ve got pressure on positions in the team. The young guys are making it difficult leave them out and the older guys are responding with them.”
Matterson is tipping prop Craig Huby for a place in the England squad.
He said: “Craig Huby has been good for us for a while and the quality is getting better and better every week. Steve McNamara (England coach) cannot pick everyone but if Craig keeps going the way he is he will get there. There’s no doubt about that.”
Huby bagged Castleford’s first try and winger Kirk Dixon contributed 14 points with a try and five goals.
Arundel and Nick Youngquest scored with long-range efforts, Rangi Chase grabbed a lovely solo try and Stuart Jones also crossed.
Scorers - Castleford: tries Huby, Jones, Dixon, Chase, Youngquest, Arundel; goals Dixon (5). Catalan: tries Dureau (2), Blanch, Stacul; goals Dureau (4).
Castleford: Mathers; Dixonn, Arundel, Ferres, Youngquest; Chase, Orr; Jacksonn, Milner, Huby, Holmes, Emmitt, Jones. Subs: Fozzard, Aspinwall, Widders, Clark.
Catalan: Greenshields; Blanch, Farrar, Millard, Stacul; Sa, Dureau; Fakir, Henderson, Paea, Menzies, Raguin, Baitieri. Subs: Ferriol, Casty, Mounis, Gigot.
Referee: Phil Bentham.