Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell has stressed the importance of his team making a good start to the 2015 season with Super League looking tougher than ever following the reduction of teams.
Powell admitted the Tigers face a tricky start to the campaign with massive games in the first month, but he reckons every match will present a big challenge with Super League down to 12 teams.
He told the Express: “It’s a tough start with Wakefield at home then Catalans away, which is always a tough game.
“Having said that, we’re not going to be going over there in the baking heat. But then it’s Wigan so it’s going to be a testing start for us.
“The comp looks a tough one this year. Taking a couple of teams out has made it a bit more difficult in terms of the quality you are playing against. Wherever you look there are tough games.
“Every game will be hard and we need to steel ourselves for the challenges that we are going to be facing.
“We have to start well again, that’s important.
“The pre-season is a little bit shorter at 12 weeks and we have to make sure we get our preparation right so that we can rattle straight into it and be a tough side to beat again right from the start.
“Obviously that gave us a great foundation last year.”
With nine of Castleford’s fixtures already chosen for live coverage by Sky it shows that the Tigers are going to be a high profile team in 2015 and Powell hopes they can be the game’s entertainers again.
He said: “It’s not ideal that we’ve got Thursday games to deal with again, but Sky like them and as a result of that we’ve got to live with them.
“We’ve been picked out for a number of other Sky live games as well. We’ve set a platform for ourselves last year reputation-wise and got a lot of accolades for the way we played so obviously we’ve become an attractive proposition for Sky viewers
“The challenge for us is to be as effective again when we’re on Sky so we can maintain that mantle of being an attractive team to watch.”