After being impressed by Widnes Vikings in their winning start to the new season Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell is expecting his players to be challenged in Sunday’s first Betfred Super League game of 2018 at the Mend-A-Jungle.
Denis Betts will bring a confident Vikings side to Castleford after beating Catalans Dragons 42-12 last Sunday. And after pushing the Tigers close at the ground last year and winning there in 2016 they will fancy their chances of another victory over a Cas team with something to prove after bad defeats in their last two competitive matches.
Tigers boss Powell respects the way the Vikings play and has warned his players to expect a big test.
He said: “I thought they were excellent against Catalans.
“They looked fit and strong, had some great intent about them and have got some good players across the board. They’ll be a challenge.
“Mellor’s a talented half-back, Lloyd White looks great and Hanbury at the back is a real threat. Houston played in the middle and had the best game I’ve ever seen him have.
“They’re prepared to throw different things at you and are a dangerous side.
“They probably should have beaten us here last year, to be honest, and they are probably rubbing their hands together. They’ll see this as a good opportunity.
“I look at Super League and think it will be a great competition this year and some of the teams have kicked it off in great style with the way they’ve played. We’ve got to respond to that and come back with this week’s effort.
“It’s a pretty important game for us. We are proud of our home record and proud of our standards as well, which obviously we were a way off last week.”
Powell is clearly looking for an improved performance from his side after their hammering at St Helens last week.
He added: “It was the first game of the season and it gave us a fair kick up the backside. Our response from it is going to define how good we are as a group of blokes and as a team.
“The first month is important for me, it’s where you set your standards and where you get your confidence.
“Clearly we haven’t got a lot of confidence from the weekend and we need to get that back.
“We’ve got off to a poor start and we’ve got to respond now.”