After their unbeaten start to the new season Castleford Tigers’ players are confident they can finally end one of the longest running hoodoos in rugby league when they go to St Helens tomorrow night.
The Tigers have never beaten Saints at their Langtree Park venue and have to go back an incredible 24 years for their last away success against the Merseyside club.
But head coach Daryl Powell is taking a very different side over the Pennines this time to the ones from a few years back and, while acknowledging it will be a tough task, reckons the players have a belief they can come home with two more points.
He told the Express: “We should have done a bit better than we did over there last year. We didn’t play that great, but it was a tight game for a long time.
“There’s no reason why we can’t go there and win this time. As a team as we’ve been maturing and developing over the last few years we should feel confident going anywhere.
“Saints is a tough place to go and win, but we’ve got to feel confident with our away form so far.
“We should have probably got a win at Hull KR and we’ve won away at Hull so the signs are it doesn’t matter where the pitch is we’re going to go okay.”
Powell put forward a few reasons for the long wait for a Cas victory at St Helens, but does not think they are relevant now.
He said: “They’ve been such a good side of a number of years so that’s a part. Obviously you go through different coaches and different periods and perhaps the belief hasn’t been there at different times. But it’s certainly there now looking at the group.
“If you asked them to a man they’d be confident we can go and challenge Saints.
“Now it’s about preparing ourselves as well as we can. I think we know a fair bit about them and now we’ve got to go and deliver the performance and toughness that gets you a result over there.”
St Helens have had an up and down start to the season, but Powell is not reading anything into that.
He added: “It’s been difficult for Saints so far. They got a couple of injuries and the World Club Challenge didn’t go their way when they got beat by a good side. But they did win last week and they beat Huddersfield early so it will be tough regardless.
“They will see this as an opportunity to get themselves back on track at home.
“They’ve got James Roby back and he’s a really important player for them and they’ve got Shannon McDonnell back at full-back so they’ve stiffened up a little bit.
“Their pack is pretty big, they’re aggressive so you just take the other results out of the equation and just make sure that we take this game on its merits, go there and perform.”