It was win one, lose one for Castleford Tigers in their Easter double-header, but head coach Daryl Powell was encouraged by his side’s displays against Leeds Rhinos and Catalans Dragons.
Powell described the Leeds win as the biggest in his time as Tigers coach while there was pride at the effort on show in defeat at Catalans with so many players unable to play.
After the hammering at Warrington it was an improved Cas team on show in both games and Powell was relieved as well as delighted by the win over the Rhinos.
“That was more like it,” he said. “That was the commitment and effort and character and spirit we’ve shown over the last couple of years.
“We didn’t get everything right, but we worked hard. You have to dig deep in Rugby League and for that team that has been rattled a fair bit I thought it was a magnificent effort.
“It’s probably the biggest win since I’ve been at the club because of where we’re at - we’ve been in a really tough place.
“I asked the players individually for something special – and they certainly delivered that and that’s what we’re about as a group of people.
“It was a big relief to break the losing cycle because it can go on and can look really deep and dark.
Powell admitted there had been plenty of soul-searching within the team following the Warrington setback.
He said: “We’ve been really honest and spoke about quite a few things that have been really fundamental to how we’ve been over the last couple of years.
“We have been building and for it to fall down like a pack of cards as it did at Warrington was obviously very disappointing. There’s been lot of soul-searching and the players responded really well.
Powell was not pleased with every aspect of the performance against the Rhinos.
He added: “At the start of the second half we made too many errors – five in a 20-minute period – and that put us under a lot of pressure.
“We’re doing that too much. You’re never going to eradicate all errors out of your game, it’s the nature of the sport, but we’re making too many and that started to hurt us.
“But on the back of it all was our desperation in defence, which was awesome I thought.
“In the first half we didn’t defend last tackle plays very well and they scored three times off the back of that. They are good at that.”
On the Catalans game when Cas had 10 missing, Powell said: “We tried to move them around a bit and put some fatigue in their legs, which I thought we did pretty well.
“But on the back of that we made some errors on our try line and we weren’t effective enough.
“But in the circumstances I’m proud of the effort.”