Castleford Tigers gear up to try to deal with in-form Jackson Hastings

Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell.
Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell.

Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell has identified Jackson Hastings as the danger man when his team travel to play Salford Red Devils on Friday night.

Half-back Hastings is high up in the Man of Steel voting and offers a big threat to the Tigers’ chances of confirming their fifth place at Salford.

“The half-backs are playing really well, Hastings is one of the form halves in the competition and Lui on the back of him,” said Cas boss Powell.

“They are both really good runners of the football, Jones is playing well in the back-row for them and they are just a good team.

“They work hard for each other and they are pretty creative as well. They are always scheming and they come up with little bits of plays that get Evalds away down the middle of the field.

“Hastings is playing some great rugby league, he is running more than any other player in the competition, which is unbelievable for a half-back, but he is 18-20 carries per game or he’s over 100 metres.

“He is a real threat. It will be a tough game.”

Castleford have a mixed record at the AJ Bell Stadium, but are determined to improve that on Friday.

“I don’t think we’ve been great there at times, but that doesn’t really matter. We’ve just got to go and win the game,” insisted Powell.

“We need to play well. It is a key game again, we are playing teams around us in the table at the moment and they are important games.”

Powell has been impressed by Salford this year and acknowledged that they ran the Tigers close earlier in the season at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle after Cas had opened up a big lead.

He added: “It was a similar game to the one they played against Hull a couple of weeks back. They were getting beaten easily and they ended up losing 35-32.

“They had the ascendancy for about 10 minutes and they can just unravel a team. I watched them play against St Helens the other week and I still don’t know how they lost that game.

“They were all over Saints and scored 30-odd points. I don’t think anybody else has done that this year.

“They are a good side, well organised. I think Ian Watson has done a really good job there. They are very creative, very dangerous and they defend okay.

“They put a lot of pressure on you with their aggressive line speed all over the field.”