London Broncos v Castleford Tigers: Mental toughness key if Tigers are to avoid slip-up

Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell (Picture: SWPix.com)
Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell (Picture: SWPix.com)

CASTLEFORD TIGERS need to get their mental approach right for tomorrow’s challenge in the capital.

That’s the warning from coach Daryl Powell ahead of Tigers’ clash with promoted London Broncos on the plastic pitch in Ealing.

Championship Coach of the Year Award winner Danny Ward of London Broncos (Picture: SWPix.com)

Championship Coach of the Year Award winner Danny Ward of London Broncos (Picture: SWPix.com)

London crushed Wakefield Trinity 42-24 in their only home game so far and Powell knows his team face a long, tough afternoon if they get their attitude and preparation wrong.

“You don’t want to go there underdone mentally, that’s for sure,” Powell emphasised.

“They have competed well in both their away games, against Salford and Hull KR, though the scoreline has got away from them a bit both times.

“At half-time they were 6-0 down in one and 6-4 up in the other so they are competing very well.

It was the same through pre-season. We lost Luke Gale and that heightened the feeling towards us.

Daryl Powell

“Wardy [Broncos coach Danny Ward] did a fantastic job last year and he’s carried that on. They are challenging teams, they move the ball well and they are really dangerous.

“Mentality is a big thing, we have got to treat it like we would any other game.

“There’s no reason to be disrespectful to them because they’ve proved they can handle the competition.”

That has been a theme of Tigers’ team talks this week. Powell added: “We’ve said this is what you’ve got in front of you, it’s a tough game and you’ve got to go out and play the way we want to play.

“There’s a lot of concentration on us, we’ve started the season well, we’re really positive and the attitude has been great so far.

“We want to carry that on.”

Tigers were one of only three teams with a 100 per cent winning record going into Betfred Super League round three, but have largely gone under the radar so far.

“I think that’s great, I have no problem with that at all,” Powell insisted.

“It was the same through pre-season. We lost Luke Gale and that heightened the feeling towards us.

“We aren’t talking much about ourselves either, we’ll just get on with it and we have done a good job so far.”

Broncos are capable of scoring points, as they proved against Trinity, so Tigers’ defence is likely to be tested.

Powell said: “Defensively across the board we’ve been better.

“There’s going to be some really stern challenges, but so far we’ve held up well.”

Powell was a team-mate of Ward – who is a former Castleford player – at Leeds Rhinos 20 years ago and admires what he has achieved since taking charge at the start of last season.

“He is different,” Powell said of today’s coaching rival. “I said to him at the Super League launch ‘I am looking forward to seeing you smiling your way through the season’.

“We had a good laugh about it and he has started off that way. He is a good character and he will get on with things his way, that’s the great thing about him.”

Alex Foster, Mitch Clark and Ben Roberts all drop out of Tigers’ side after picking up knocks against Hull two weeks ago. Matt Cook is available following injury and Chris Clarkson, Cory Aston, Tuoyo Egodo and Jacques O’Neill are also in contention.

London: Abdull, Adebiyi, Battye, Cunningham, Dixon, Fleming, Fozard, Gee, Ioane, Kear, Lovell, Mason, Morgan, Pelissier, Pitts, Richards, Walker, Williams, Yates.

Castleford Tigers: from Aston, Clare, Clarkson, Cook, Eden, Egodo, Massey, Mata’utia, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Moors, O’Neill, Rankin, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Trueman, Watts.

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Leigh).

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 5.15pm.