Castleford Tigers expect to have to go to another level if they are to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season tonight at Warrington Wolves.
Four wins from four have put the Tigers top of the Betfred Super League table, but head coach Daryl Powell believes they face their toughest test so far at the Halliwell Jones Stadium against opponents who also had a 100 per cent record before narrowly losing at Catalans last weekend.
He said: “Our defensive record is going to be tested.
“Blake Austin has been revered in this country, rugby league-wise, pretty much since Warrington signed him so that’s a significant challenge for us.
“He’s a good player if you let him play, but Catalans made him do some work defensively and got in and around him when he was catching the ball.
“They put him under a lot of pressure and, yes, he came up with some errors. Our job is to give him a tough night and make life difficult for him.
“But Warrington have got good players in every position – Daryl Clark is an outstanding player.
“We know all about him from his time here. I think he’s playing very similar to when he was Man of Steel. He was outstanding that year, 2014, just before he left.
“He’s not far off that form, he is running a lot at the moment and causing teams a lot of trouble.
“He scored a great try against Catalans last weekend, so he’s a quality player, but I think we’re confident.
“We are playing with confidence and we’ve got a belief about us. We’ve just got to be at our best.
“I don’t think you can turn up in these games and get away with too much. We have got to have every player playing right on top of his game and we need a big improvement from last week’s game against Hull KR.”
Castleford have a recent good record at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, having won on their last two visits, and will not be short of confidence that they can get the job done again.
Powell said: “We won over there last year when we had a slightly worse injury list than we have at the moment.
“It is very difficult to win over there, but we know what it’s like going over there and doing that. It doesn’t happen without working extremely hard and you need everybody playing well.
“Hull away was a big challenge for us and we came through that. And our London performance looks like a really good one based on what they did Sunday (beating Wigan Warriors).
“But this one now you would say is a real significant challenge for us.
“They were in both finals last year, are a good side, well coached while physicality-wise they’re a big team so it will be a big challenge.
“But we’re going alright ourselves. I don’t think we were at our best last week, but we managed to win the game which is great to have in your armoury; winning games when not at your best.”
Cas have utility player Alex Foster back from injury for the match and hope to be able to include Adam Milner if he came through a training session yesterday, but will be without seven injured first teamers plus front-rower Grant Millington, who received a two-match suspension for punching in the Hull KR game.