After passing every defensive examination put in front of them so far in 2017 Castleford Tigers are gearing up for the biggest test of their new found resolve when they go to the Halliwell Jones Stadium tomorrow night.
Head coach Daryl Powell was hugely impressed with the way Warrington played as they beat Brisbane Broncos in their World Series match last Saturday and expects them to be just as big a threat to his Tigers team.
Castleford do go into the game two points ahead of the Wolves, however, after a resounding win in their opening Betfred Super League game and will carry their own confidence into the game.
“It’s got the makings of an outstanding game,” said Cas boss Powell.
“I thought they were superb last week. If they come up with what they did last week it’s going to be a fair challenge for our defence. They would challenge any team playing that way.
“They were playing against a high quality team in Brisbane and were way too good for them I thought so they will be challenging.
“But we’ve talked about our defensive game improving significantly and this will be a challenge for us.
“We’ve been talking and thinking about ourselves as a top four club for a fair while now and if you are going do that these are the challenges you’ve got to face up to.
“We’re ready to go. We’ve trained really well, we’ve got one final prep session left and we’ll just need to be outstanding. There’s no other way of looking at it.
“If we’re outstanding we give ourselves a chance of coming out on top and we’ve done pretty well against Warrington most times in the recent past.
“We had a really tough gig there early on last season and got absolutely belted so we know what it’s like to go there and be on the wrong side of something if you’re not where you need to be performance wise.”
Powell does not expect to make many changes from the team that did the job against Leigh, although he has one forced on him with hooker Paul McShane sitting out a one match ban. Adam Milner will come in for him as he is set to start his first match of 2017 after overcoming a knee injury.
“We’ll not be too far away from the same side that played against Leigh,” added Powell. “There’s going to be some stiffer challenges, none more so than this week, but overall I was really pleased and there won’t be too many changes that’s for sure.
“Paul McShane is suspended so there will be one there. I thought he was outstanding against Leigh so that’s disappointing, but Adam Milner comes in. Rangi Chase is okay, he passed all his tests after the knock he got and he trained at the end of last week.
“How big a loss Paul McShane will be depends on how Adam Milner goes.
“They are different players obviously, Paul McShane is a little bit more creative and crafty around the ruck area whereas Adam Milner is more physical in the way he plays the game.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to lose Paul - he would have started in this game if he had been available - but there’s not a lot you can do about it.
“It was an awkward tackle that he came up with on Gareth Hock and we didn’t fight it. I didn’t think there was any way we could have got him off a one game suspension.
“Adam Milner’s trained well. It’s been a tough pre-season for him, pretty frustrating really, but he’s looked good in practice and I thought his end to last season was outstanding so I think he’s ready to go.”