Millward: We must learn from defeat

CENTRE Martin Gleeson is barred from playing until November.
CENTRE Martin Gleeson is barred from playing until November.

CASTLEFORD Tigers coach Ian Millward admits there is work to be done before the opening Super League game, but is keen to draw a line under the disappointing final friendly at Wakefield.

After victories in their first two warm-ups against Super League opposition the Tigers were outplayed at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium when defensive problems were unearthed that need to be put right if they are to challenge for a top eight spot.

The performance gave Millward food for thought and he hopes lessons have been learned, but believes supporters should not read too much into the latest result even if it was against their biggest rivals.

He said: “Wakefield were the better team. They beat us to the punch in a lot of areas, but it was a friendly and we are still tinkering with a lot of things and a lot of positions, looking at combinations.

“As much as I thought they did very well, the day was about looking at us and looking at what we need to do to be better in Super League.

“We were put under a lot of pressure at times in the first playing into a heavy breeze and we didn‘t handle it real well.

“There were a lot of things that we’d practised and under pressure we went away from those things.

“Both teams were a little bit light in the front row and we certainly we were with five front rowers out. We lacked a little bit around the ruck area with Nathan Massey pulling out because his wife had a baby. But all over we were a little below par.

“We understand it was a friendly game and it was about learning where we’re at, where we want to go and what we want to stop doing and keep doing.

“It was a day when we were on the back foot most of the time and we’ve just got to learn from it and move forward.

“There were no injuries so from that point of view it was a good day. Brett Ferres pulled up fine from his first game back and it will do him good.”

Millward is keen to improve long standing defensive deficiencies, which resurfaced at Wakefield.

He added: “It’s obvious we’ve got to improve our defence. The club averaged 30 points against last year and we leaked 40 at Wakefield.

“In the other two friendlies I thought we did well defensively, but in this game we witnessed some old habits. Some of the things we wanted to change were there against Bradford and Huddersfield, but under pressure some guys went back to some old ways.”

Millward, meanwhile, clarified reports in the media that he was ready to offer a contract to banned former international Martin Gleeson.

Cas have not moved to sign the 30-year-old centre who is barred from playing until November after taking the illegal stimulant methylhexaneamine.

But when he can start training with a club from August the Tigers coach, who worked successfully with Gleeson at St Helens, would be happy for the player to join him at Castleford.

Millward explained: “I think it’s been a bit misconstrued. What I’ve said is he’s going to have to train with someone in August and seen as I know him well from when I coached him why doesn’t he come up and train with us?

“We’ll see where he is as a player and as a person and see what his desire is.

“It’s more about giving him an option of a club to train with. We haven’t looked at signing him.

“It’s like when an NRL player signs for Super League and he does some pre-season training with his club in Australia.”