By his own admission Castleford Tigers were not at their best against Salford Red Devils, but head coach Daryl Powell reckons the 24-20 win could prove to be more impressive than it first appeared.
Powell has not tried to disguise his disappointment of aspects of the Tigers display, particularly in defence and conceding tries he says were “soft”.
But the game showed that Salford are one of the big improvers in the Betfred Super League in 2019 and the Red Devils could be play-off contenders this time.
Powell said: “Salford are dangerous. Their half-backs are good players and they are combining well. The hooker, Lussick, is smart and doing some good things and then the backs are quick.
“I like Olpherts, he’s a real strong winger. I actually coached him at Featherstone years ago and he’s a good player. They’ve got Sio out there as well.
“They are well coached - Ian Watson’s done a great job. They play in a well organised way and they have some smart players in there.
“Obviously Hastings is a clever player and he makes things happen.”
Powell continued: “They are challenging the best sides. I saw them play St Helens and they were in that game right end to the back end and were a little bit unlucky at times.
“They are competing with the top teams and we want to be up there again around the top so it was a good win for us.
“You see what they did the week before against Catalans and they came to us with a lot of confidence so it was an important win for us”