Castleford’s leaders eyeing up double celebration

Castleford players Greg Minikin, Zak Hardaker and Mike McMeeken celebrate with the League Leaders' Shield.
Castleford players Greg Minikin, Zak Hardaker and Mike McMeeken celebrate with the League Leaders' Shield.

Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell hailed his conquering heroes after their history making League Leaders’ Shield triumph, but immediately turned his attention to making plans for a double success in 2017.

With one trophy in the bank Powell is keen to make sure his brilliant Tigers are in the best position to follow-up by making it to the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford.

Castleford have finished top of the table with four games remaining, but the head coach reckons it is important there is not let up now to make sure they are ready to take on whichever team finishes in fourth place in a knockout play-off semi-final, which will take place at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Thursday, September 28.

Powell said: “We want to get some momentum, you don’t just want to sit on your hands now, it’s really important that we continue to play well.

“I need to make some good decisions on opportunities for players who didn’t play (against Wakefield) to force their way into the team then we will be one game away.

“We will be here for the semi-final and we know that whoever comes it’s going to be a tough game. There’s no given right because you are at home. Grand Finals are always tough. I was fortunate enough to play in one and it was unbelievably tough.

“We’ve got some difficult games ahead of us, but you’ve got to enjoy things that happen to you in your life and this is a big one for us, winning the League Leaders’ Shield. It’s never happened at the club before.

“This group of people are going to end up in the history books of the Castleford Tigers and that’s special. This year has been a journey and I think this is a huge achievement for us. From where we were four years ago, to being able to compete at the highest level and now winning this, we have come a long way.”

Powell is taking the players on a mini-camp to Newcastle this week as they aim to refocus for the rest of the season.

He added: “We are spending a bit of time with Newcastle Falcons – it is just a different environment and I think it’ll be good for us to get away and do something different.

“It’ll be good for us, we can focus on what we’ve got in front of us, which is some tough challenges.

“We can celebrate this then we will move on. We’ve got Huddersfield next and when the time comes we will be ready.”