Castleford prepare for physical test against Dragons

Daryl Powell
Daryl Powell

Head coach Daryl Powell is backing his players to rise to the challenge of playing in the heat of France when Castleford Tigers take on Catalans Dragons in Perpignan on Saturday.

The Tigers do not have a good recent record in away games against Catalans, but Powell is hoping they get their preparation right this time as they look for a victory that can help them overhaul the Dragons to finish in fifth place in the Super League.

He told the Express: “We’re going over to Catalans on the day so there’s some management things you need to get right. Players need to look after themselves.

“We’re staying in Leeds on Friday night so it will be a shorter trip and we don’t have to get up as early and hopefully that will give us a better chance.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against, we feel that we are capable of winning the game if we play to our potential. So it’s a real challenge for us this week.

“We need to be better over the 80 minutes than we were against St Helens.

“I thought defensively for lots of the game we were really good, but our decision making when we were under pressure needs to be a little bit better. If we can improve that we give ourselves a chance.”

Powell is gearing his side up for a physical challenge.

He said: “They are physically very strong, they really come after you down the middle of the field and they take a bit of dealing with.

“They’ve got Taylor back this week and that’s an extra challenge. Physically he’s going to really challenge us because he’s that big.

“They’ve good some other good players, but they’ve got some injuries as well.

“We’ve got to perform. We can still finish fifth if we can beat Catalans and then beat Widnes at home so there’s some incentive.

“It will be an unbelievable achievement I think for the team if they can get that so it’s a really important game for us.”

Opponents Catalans will clinch fifth spot with a victory, but have been up and down this season as Powell acknowledged.

He added: “Catalans started like a house on fire. They were beating everybody and it looked like the recruitment they made had improved them.

“They were looking difficult to beat over here, which has been a new thing for them.

“But they have had bit of a split campaign because from almost half-way they have dropped off. They have found it difficult to win even at home at times, they’ve lost a few games there, which doesn’t normally happen to them.

“It’s been a really mixed campaign for them and I think they’ll end up really disappointed that they haven’t got in the top four because they looked like they were going to be right in there at one point.”