Head coach Daryl Powell was delighted with the way his players coped with the challenge of facing a fired up Leeds Rhinos side and came out on the winning side in their Magic Weekend game at Newcastle.
This was not the same Rhinos side that the Tigers had blown away in March and the result was in the balance at 6-6 at half-time before Cas took charge in the second period.
“We really got challenged, but we did outstandingly well to tidy our game up and get past Leeds,” Powell told the Express.
“I thought at the start of the second half we were really dominant and our pack was outstanding. We did it with control and we took some great chances that we created.
“It was a real challenge to us and we showed we’re a good side by getting out of what we were faced with. There were more lessons for us and I think we’re learning them really well and applying them when we are under some pressure on the field where it really matters.”
Powell praised the performance of several of his in-form players and was particularly pleased with the kicking game that pushed Leeds back.
He said: “We put Leeds under a lot of pressure with our kicking game and our defence.
“Adam Milner was at the forefront of our defensive effort and he was pivotal to the way we played. He forced a couple of errors and on the back of that we scored some smart tries.
“Michael Shenton’s accuracy with his passing game was world class and obviously our wingers are scoring tries – Greg Eden another three.
“Shenny is really coming into his best form now and our left side was great with Luke Gale creating some good opportunities with his passes. I thought our forward pack was great.
“We got challenged in the first half by some of the outside backs of Leeds, but we really stepped up in the second half and focused our attention on the middle of the field.
“We created some pressure for Leeds on the back of our ability to gain field position through first of all our carries and then our kicking game.
“Our kick chase was outstanding, it was exceptional the way we got after our kicks and challenged and if you were a Leeds winger you would feel you were under pressure under those kicks we were putting in.”
Powell was able to admire some of his side’s attacking play, but also praised the defending.
He said: “It was a good game of rugby league I thought.
“There was a real quality period from us just after half-time that put us in a really solid winning position.
“We had started well and then we didn’t take a couple of opportunities and they really put us under pressure. They responded massively from the last time we played them and they got after us, but I thought we defended our tryline superbly.
“There was that one try where Shenny just gets himself a little bit out of position, but our defence was outstanding until those late soft tries.
“Alex Foster hasn’t played in the centre for us before and Jake Webster had to come off. It left us a little bit light there in terms of experience so some of that was understandable when we let the late points in.”
In a game with plenty to admire, Powell was also happy with the way his side coped with decisions that went against them, particularly the controversial one to chalk off the Greg Eden try that came from the move of the match deep in the Tigers’ own half.
He added: “I can understand why they disallowed the try from the scrum, but it was a quality piece of play and I thought we were a little bit unlucky, just how tight Leeds defended and Shenny just needs to step a little bit further infield and it’s one of the high quality tries we’ve been scoring.
“These things happen and we didn’t get rattled too much by it.
“Leeds were really coming after us and they were playing well.
“Half-time was good I thought, we were composed and calm and then we went out and did what we did.”