Castleford boss delighted with defensive display in St Helens warm-up

Mike McMeeken, who had an injury scare at St Helens, but is okay according to head coach Daryl Powell.
Mike McMeeken, who had an injury scare at St Helens, but is okay according to head coach Daryl Powell.

Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell was delighted with the manner of his side’s performance in their 22-6 victory at St Helens in their final pre-season game.

A strong defensive display saw the Tigers only concede one try near the end and it was the defending that earned big praise from the Cas boss.

Powell said: “I was very happy. The key thing out of this game is that we can defend and we haven’t always been able to say that.

“We need to prove we can do that consistently now.

“We let a crazy one in at the end, but our defensive effort was superb.

“Obviously Cas haven’t won at St Helens for 20-odd years. I wanted this game, I knew it would be a tough challenge for us and I just see a different team, I just see a different side to us.

“I’ve thought that for most of pre-season and I thought we showed that.

“Our games previously we had a lot of kids on, but this was more like a Super League game for the 80 minutes. For us to defend as well as we did that was a big plus for me.

“The defence was really good. That’s been the criticism of this team for quite a few years now, how we’ve always been able to score points, but we haven’t been able to defend.”

Powell and his coaching staff are now putting the players through their paces for one more big week before attentions turn to the opening match against promoted Leigh.

He said: “We’ll have a tough week training this week.

“I’ll have a look at Leigh against Dewsbury and their game against Wigan, but really it’s just about us.

“We’ve had a tough game and I wanted that. I wanted us to have to work through some tough scenarios and we had to do that.

“I thought we managed situations exceptionally well.”

Castleford had an injury scare when Mike McMeeken limped off in the first half at St Helens, but he returned to the field after the break and was found to be okay.

Powell explained: “Mike McMeeken got a whack on his knee and I was a bit worried as he’s a big player for us.

“Obviously he’s just got in the England squad and he’s a player who’s going to be outstanding for us this season.

“It was a bit of a worry, but he’s okay.”