Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell has warned his players that they need to make a faster start in tomorrow night’s game against Huddersfield Giants at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Despite winning 43-26 against Catalans last Sunday to go top of the Betfred Super League the Tigers had to come from behind after making a shocking start when they conceded 14 unanswered points in the first 13 minutes.
Head coach Powell was pleased with the way his players responded to overcome their early problems and take control, but he has told them they cannot afford a repeat against a Huddersfield team that he has seen begin matches strongly this season.
He said: “We need to start well this week and really get after Huddersfield.
“I watched them play against Wigan and they were pretty hot. They were too hot to handle for Wigan early on.
“We need to make sure that we’re the team that gets out the blocks the best.
“Widnes really put us under pressure at the start and it took us a long time to get into the game. It was not quite as long last weekend, but another one where we didn’t quite get going early.
“Huddersfield have got a lot of injuries, which is not helpful and their team is changing a fair bit so it doesn’t help with consistency.
“They got a great result at Wigan, but there was no disgrace in losing to Leeds after that.
“For me, it’s about us and getting our game right and making sure we’re where we need to be.
“Obviously you are mindful of the opposition and what they’re going to throw at you and we’ve had a look at them and given the players a heads up on what they’re going to be facing.
“We won’t be taking anything for granted. I think we’ve learned that lesson pretty quickly.”
Powell admitted there were still things for his team to improve upon, but he is pleased to be sat on top of the table after six matches.
He said: “You want to be top of the table. There’s nothing wrong with being up there, but it doesn’t really mean anything in terms of what’s going to happen down the track.
“We’re just after consistency and don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, keep our feet on the ground and keep working hard, improving bits and pieces in our game. We want to be able to deal with all sorts of situations.
“We’re looking at little tweaks in our game all the time. There were some things that happened to us at the weekend we’d like to be a little bit better at.”
Powell is considering making a couple of changes to his team, but Joel Monaghan looks set to stay on the right wing with Greg Minikin not yet fully recovered from his shoulder injury.
He added: ““Greg Minikin is doubtful at the moment from what I’ve been told. He’s still a little bit sore in his shoulder so we’re not going to risk him.
“I thought Joel Monaghan did a pretty good job for us last weekend and he’ll stay in there again. It was a great piece of skill from Joel to finish his try and it shows there’s still some life in the old legs as he got off the floor to finish it outstandingly well.”
“There’s a couple of potential changes I’m looking at. We’ve got Oli Holmes back and if he comes through the rest of the week training-wise then he’ll be in the 17.
“We’ve got a couple of sore bodies at the moment and we’ll see how those guys are later in the week, but I won’t make too many changes at this stage.
“Gadwin Springer could come back in contention and he needs to make sure he stays in contention, that’s the big thing.
“It was his form as to why he was left out and there is going to be more of that as well as we move through the season with other players.
“The big thing for us over the last few years in terms of driving players to improve has been if you don’t well enough consistently then you are probably not going to be in the side - unless like last year when I had no options at times.
“It’s a competitive industry and the players that are doing their best will be on the field. I’m not doing my job if I don’t put the bets players out there.
“Gadwin’s got a chance of getting an opportunity this week and he needs to take it.”