Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell rated his side’s defensive display at Warrington Wolves as the best in his time at the club.
The Tigers came under pressure against opponents desperate for victory after three straight defeats, but only conceded three tries - and two of them to kicks - as they recorded a 22-14 success. And all this despite a tough local derby against Leeds Rhinos played on a heavy pitch just a few days earlier.
“I thought the commitment was superb,” head coach Powell told the Express.
“Obviously the second game over Easter is always a tough one and to turn up with that performance under pressure and to keep a team with loads of quality in it, even if they have lost a few games recently, to 14 points was great.
“They were desperate to win the game and we were excellent defensively. Our durability as a defensive team has been tested a fair bit there and we have stood up really well.
“Obviously they had a little bit more rest than us after playing on the Thursday as we played Friday so that makes it even more special to show just how fit we were.
“We committed numbers to tackles consistently, the work rate and work ethic was right out of the top drawer and as a defensive effort it ranks right up there since I’ve been at the club.”
Powell was pleased with the players he brought in to freshen the side.
He said: “The players who came in all did well.
“Frankie Mariano hadn’t played for a fair while so to go the full 80 and do what he did was a great effort.
“Jordan Tansey did well and Michael Channing was pretty solid.
“Ben Roberts did some smart things. He got a good try at a good time for us. We had a little bit of fortune on the charge down, but Luke Gale responded really well and then I thought Scott Moore showed a lot of composure. He could have thrown a speculator, but he decided to drop Ben Roberts on the inside and his ability with the ball and ability to step and beat people was just what we needed.
“His first try in Super League came right at the right time for us and it was tough for Warrington to win it from there.
“We had a couple of little scares, but we were great hanging on at the end.”
More players came in for praise from Powell.
He added: “Luke Gale was heavily involved and some of his passes were excellent. He was unlucky with the kick for Michael Channing that would have brought a try but for the bounce of the ball.
“But I just thought everybody did a good job.
“Michael Shenton and Justin Carney on the left, their relationship, giving us good starts to our sets.
“Luke Dorn was great before he got injured, all our pack were excellent, it was just a really solid team effort, everybody working so hard for each other. They only scored one try from a pass with the others from kicks. We scrambled well and it was just a good team effort.
“It made it all the better that we had to do it tough with the injuries we picked up.
“Losing your full-back forces you into a bit of a shuffle, but Mariano went to centre and Channing to the wing and did okay there with Tansey at full-back.”