Castleford Tigers: We’re set up nicely for final push, says Powell

Daryl Powell.
Daryl Powell.

HE ADMITS his side aren’t playing well at the moment, but coach Daryl Powell still insists Castleford Tigers are set up for a good season.

Last year’s league leaders began Betfred Super League round 11 in fifth place, six points behind table-topping St Helens, but having played two fewer games.

Luke Gale.

Luke Gale.

They have lost only twice in eight outings, despite a series of below-par second half performances and Powell reckons Tigers’ ability to win without being at the top of their game is standing them in good stead for later in the campaign.

“We are in a good place,” Powell said. “We are in fifth with games in hand and we’ve won six out of eight, so that’s a pretty positive start for us.”

The wins have largely been due to Tigers building a big first half lead. They failed to score after half-time in three successive games, winning them all and managed just one second half touchdown in their Easter Monday loss to Warrington Wolves.

They were 28-6 ahead at the break away to Huddersfield Giants six days ago, but were pegged back to 30-22 before adding two late touchdowns.

Matt Cook.

Matt Cook.

“We want to come out of the changing rooms a bit better,” Powell admitted of the final 40 minutes of games.

“It’s something we are mindful of and we just need to do it. I don’t want to bang on about it too much, we know it’s there and we just have to crack on and make sure we are better in the next couple of games.

“We’ve got Catalans and then Wigan over our next block of games, plus Wakefield and Hull and the start of the second half will be important for us. We are playing really good teams in the next block and we just want to be more consistent.”

Catalans are bottom of the table, with two wins – both at home – and eight defeats, but led 21-0 against Wigan last week before going on to lose 32-23.

“They played a lot better for a big chunk of that game, then Wigan belted them for a period,” Powell observed.

“We have just got to play well and focus on ourselves. We are playing well for periods and having some really positive periods in games and we just want it to be a bit longer.”

Man of Steel Luke Gale is set to return for Tigers after missing last week’s game. Matt Cook, Nathan Massey and James Clare could also return to the 17, but Greg Eden is out after suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury in his comeback last week and Junior Moors is sidelined due to concussion.

Two Tigers players have begun loan spells in Betfred League One. Jy Hitchcox has joined Bradford Bulls and Oldham have signed Kieran Gill.

Catalans are without star men Greg Bird and Paul Aiton from the team beaten by Wigan. Lewis Tierney, Lucas Albert, Alrix Da Costa and Thibaut Margalet are vying to replace them in the 17.

Castleford Tigers: from Clare, Cook, Ellis, Foster, Gale, Holmes, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Roberts, Shenton, Springer, Trueman, Wardle, Watts, Webster.

Catalans Dragons: from Mead, Broughton, Thornley, Wiliame, Yaha, Langi, Casty, Moa, Garcia, Bousquet, Simon, Baitieri, Margalet, McIlorum, Tierney, Jullien, Albert, Da Costa, Gigot,

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Warrington).

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3.30pm.