Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell has praised the efforts of his forwards after they laid the platform for victory over Hull KR.
Bolstered by the return from injury of Frankie Mariano and Lee Jewitt, the pack was in inspirational form to outplay their opposite numbers in the Hull KR side in every department and their performance delighted Powell.
He told the Express: “The forwards were great. We made big metres, led by Andy Lynch, who’s been huge over the Easter period.
“He hasn’t missed a tackle in the three games and he’s made about 100 so it’s been a huge effort from him leading the forward pack.
“Nathan Massey’s footwork to score his try (against Hull KR) was good - any back would be proud of that.
“He’s really growing as a player and has got a bit of leadership about him now.
“His defensive game and work ethic is fantastic and it’s nice to see him get a try every now and again. It’s good to see the big fellas get over.
“Everybody really within the pack has done a good job. I’m really pleased with where we’re going and the forward pack have been immense over the Easter period.
“It’s been great to get a couple of players back with Frankie Mariano and Lee Jewitt and they’ve contributed to our development.
“Frankie’s had two strong games now since coming back and hopefully he can turn that into some consistency.
“He’s had a couple of games that have really taken the eye. He’s carried the ball strongly and particularly defensively at the weekend he was great.
“He gives us the option of moving him to centre and he’s had to do that in both games. Obviously we’ve lost a couple of outside backs in the last two games, which makes life tough for you when you generally don’t have any backs on the bench so the players who can fill in, in different positions are really important.
“Lee Jewitt seems fine after his first game back. He was really good. To say it was his first game he carried the ball strongly and made some good metres. His footwork looked good and it looked like he’d never been away.
“He blotted his copybook a little bit giving a big penalty away, but his effort to get after the kicker after being out so long was great.
“It tells you where the team’s at, at the moment with blokes working hard for each other.”
Powell was pleased with the way all his team defended to keep a high scoring team like Hull KR to only one try.
He said: “Defensively we were right at the top of our game and I thought we controlled field position.
“The metres we made were massive and on the back of that our defensive game was huge in controlling where the game was played.
“There’s still areas we’re looking to improve, but we’ve got to be happy with how we’re developing as a team at the moment.
“Hull KR have been getting a lot of raps for how they’ve been playing and rightly so, they’ve been playing some outstanding rugby league, but on the day we just looked too good for them defensively and rarely looked troubled.
“We conceded the try early on then kept them scoreless for the rest of the game so it was a big effort.
“It showed the depth of our squad. We’ve got a few injuries at the moment and had some important players missing, but we just get on with it.
“Whoever comes in at the moment is doing a good job and it’s really pleasing the way that people are slotting in, playing very well, developing their games and being tough.
“There’s a really good feel about the group at the moment and a winning mentality that’s absolutely crucial.”