CASTLEFORD Tigers coach Terry Matterson shrugged off the 22-20 result against Hull FC to declare himself pleased with his side’s final pre-season trial before the start of the 2011 Super League season.
Although the Tigers were edged out by a try three minutes from time to lose for the first time in pre-season, Matterson (pictured) reckoned he had seen enough to know his players were progressing along the right lines before they play Wakefield Wildcats at Millennium Magic on Saturday week.
“Now we know where we’re at,” he said.
“We’ve still got some work to do, but there were a lot of encouraging signs.
“There’s still some cohesion issues we’ve got to deal with after all the new players have come in, but I was pleased with the hit out.
“The scoreline was irrelevant. I told the players before the game I wasn’t interested in what the scoreboard was going to be, I was just looking at how we did things and there was some good stuff.
“I think there were quite a few players that showed they are going to make good contributions to the team.
“I thought Willie Isa fitted in pretty well in his first game. Both our halves are going to take a bit of time, but there were good signs. It was good to have Ryan McGoldrick back out there and I thought Ryan Hudson was pretty good for us. It was a pretty good mix from everyone.
“It can be difficult fitting new players in, but there’s some excitement around having new guys in the team as well.
“We’ve got a new full-back and a new half-back and they’re obviously key positions, but those two guys have got a lot of experience and they are not going to have too many problems.
“With some of the other guys just knowing where to be in certain positions that takes a bit of time.
“But I think we got the cobwebs off. Having basically everyone back out there available was good and I think it was a really good, strong hit out against a side that finished in the top six last year.
“It just shows us where we’re at and I’ll be honest I didn’t know where we were at before the game so it gives me a level and I think we’re on the right track.”
Matterson was pleased that Hull brought their strongest possible side to make it a real test and agreed that there was a decent level of intensity in the game played out in front of a healthy 4,661 crowd.
He added: “It was a good trial between two teams who had basically everyone who is fit out there.
“Hull had a couple out and we had a couple out, but they were out because they are not fit.
“It was what we were after. It was our only Super League trial and we got exactly what we wanted. It was perfect.
“I think it’s irrelevant who scored the winning try because it’s a friendly.
“No one’s really going to care, it’s in two weeks the one we want to worry about. It doesn’t really matter who wins the trials or scores the tries, it’s what you do out there in preparation for the more important matches ahead.
“We seem to have come through injury-free from the game, which is good as well. Willie Isa did need some attention at the end, but there didn’t seem to be too much for concern and we’ve come through pretty healthy.”