Castleford looking to continue improvement in big Elland Road clash

Castleford Tigers players Grant Millington, Ben Roberts and Adam MIlne, supporting Sport Relief at Elland Road ahead of tomorrow's clash with Leeds Rhinos. Picture: James Hardisty
Castleford Tigers players Grant Millington, Ben Roberts and Adam MIlne, supporting Sport Relief at Elland Road ahead of tomorrow's clash with Leeds Rhinos. Picture: James Hardisty

Tomorrow’s game against Leeds Rhinos at Elland Road is not just about revenge for the Grand Final defeat according to Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell.

It will be the first meeting of the teams in a Super League match since the Old Trafford final, but Powell says his team will be motivated to perform for more reasons than simply getting one over their old rivals.

The Tigers head coach wants to see his team continue the progression they have shown this season as they look to get closer to the form that saw them win the League Leaders’ Shield in impressive style in 2017.

He said: “We don’t need to talk about the Grand Final too much.

“Clearly it was a disappointing end to last season for us. You get motivation from different things and the way it ended regardless of who we were playing against it’s going to play a part this season. It’s only natural that people will feel that.

“But I don’t want to jump up and down about it. This is a game that’s important to us. We are trying to piece our combinations together. There’s a few things that have changed there and we’re still working hard on that.

“I think Benny Roberts is getting better week on week and when he gets his game together – and he’s looking like that in practice – then we’ll be coming closer to our best.

“There’s some good signs from us, but we are a work in progress. There’s a lot of teams like that at the moment.”

With the game taking place at Elland Road, Powell believes it will have a different feel and is expecting an intense match similar to a play-off contest.

He said: “I think it’s exciting. Both clubs, especially Leeds, have put a lot of stall on this game and it’s a little bit different.

“It’s a quality stadium, there’s going to be a bigger than normal crowd you would expect and everyone’s excited about the game. We’re really looking forward to it.

“We’ve been motivated against Leeds and played well a number of times, but there’s been some tough tussles. The game at Magic last year was like a play-off game and I remember going in at half-time and thinking it’s like a hospital ward, people all over the place really struggling.

“The intensity of the games has been awesome at times and I’d expect something similar on Friday evening.”

Cas are likely to go with a similar squad to the one selected for the game against Wigan, which was postponed last Sunday because of the snow.

Powell explained: “I don’t think it will be too much different. We’ve got a couple of options, but we’ve still got people missing.

“Joe Wardle and Greg Eden are still a while away. Oliver Holmes is suspended this week and Liam Watts is still suspended and can’t play so we are not going to be changing too much.”