Castleford Tigers fail to reflect pre-season progress in defeat to Toronto Wolfpack

Daryl Powell felt his side’s performance against Toronto Wolfpack failed to show the progress they have made during pre-season.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 10:05 am
Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell. PIC: Matthew Merrick.

The Tigers were beaten 16-10 by the Canadian outfit, who were without star signing Sonny Bill Williams, in their final friendly fixture before the start of the competitive season.

Gareth O’Brien gave Toronto the lead after only four minutes before new Tigers half-back Danny Richardson hit back for the home side.

Castleford took the lead through winger Sosaia Feki 10 minutes into the second half but failed to hold onto the advantage as Joe Mellor and Blake Wallace dotted down to win the game for Toronto.

And Powell admitted he was disappointed with the Tigers display in their final match before they face Toronto in Super League at Headingley on February 2.

“I thought it was disappointing,” Powell reflected.

“We have had a really good pre-season but that performance didn’t really show that.

“I thought there was some elements in the first half, especially defensively we were really good.

“It was a heavy field and we never really got going. This time of year it is a little bit different, it is a really slow game. We never got any fluency.

“We have got a couple of weeks now, we are playing the same opposition. We have had a bit of a look of them and they have had a bit of a look at us.

“It will be an interesting game but there will be a lot for us to work on.

“But that will be added motivation to get it right the next two weeks.”

Michael Shenton and Jesse Sene-Lefao were both withdrawn during the clash and Powell is awaiting further diagnosis on the extent of Sene-Lefao’s injury while Shenton is expected to recover before the start of the season.

Powell revealed that Tyla Hepi’s impressive displays throughout pre-season has brought the forward into the reckoning for a starting spot on the opening day of the season.

“I thought he was really good today, he carried the ball well and every game he has played he has done really well,” Powell added.

“He has got great intent about him. He is not the biggest front rower but he carries the ball really strongly.

“He has got that offload and he is really good defensively as well, I have been impressed with him this pre-season.”

Powell would have liked to have seen Williams take to the field for Shenton’s testimonial but is hoping that the New Zealander features in the season opener.

He added: “It would have been nice, especially for Shenny’s testimonial.

“They decide what they do with their players but hopefully we will see him in a couple of weeks time.”