Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell was relieved and delighted to see his side back in the winners’ circle after their 38-24 success against Catalans Dragons.
The victory ensured the Tigers would finish the regular Super League season in the top eight and end any lingering fears about the Middle Eights and possible relegation.
It also ended Castleford’s run of five straight home defeats in the league and Powell described the success as “crucial”.
He said: “We’ve not heard Sweet Caroline for a while and it was good to hear the old melody again.
“It was a little bit scratchy at times while we were a little frustrated when we were trying to nail Catalans to the floor and there’s a lot of improvement on what we’ve done here.
“But the frustration and anxiety dies a little bit as we know where we’re going to be now (Super 8s) and that’s been important to us.
“When you look at the way things have been going Hull KR could easily have won their next two games so, in terms of the whole season so far, it was crucial.
“We had a great week in practice and then got out of it what we wanted.”
Powell praised the players, particularly those who came into the outside backs positions in the absence of the injured Jake Webster, Joel Monaghan, Paddy Flynn, Michael Shenton, Jy Hitchcox and Ash Robson.
Ryan Hampshire was selected on the wing and responded superbly with a strong display and two tries and the Cas head coach was pleased with the efforts of the player who came on loan from Wigan for the season to essentially play at half-back.
He added; “I thought he did well there actually.
“We lost five players from last week and our outside backs were stripped right to the bare bones.
“But I got a really good text from him in the week saying he’ll play anywhere in the team and if that’s the wing, so be it.
“He did well and he looked like he wanted to play there which was really pleasing.
“It was great for Frankie Mariano, too, scoring that try.
“Obviously, he has been at Batley for a couple of weeks and it’s been a tough ride for him for a while now so it was really pleasing to see him spear straight through their middle and finish it off.
“He’s a big old human being so get him rolling that quick and he’s hard to bring down.”