Daryl Powell felt there were plenty of positives for Castleford Tigers to take from their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup defeat to competition favourites St Helens.
The Tigers head coach was disappointed with his side’s second half showing, but believed they had troubled Saints in the opening 40 minutes.
He told the Express: “The way we went about the first half was great. We applied a plan defensively and we caused them a lot of trouble with the ball.
“Mike McMeeken was getting consistent penalties and our work rate was very good.
“There were loads of positives to take, but ultimately we lost the game.
“In some ways it gives us Super League to focus on and we’ve got an important game this week to get after.
“You want to be in the Challenge Cup as long as you can so it’s disappointing to lose.
“Obviously we had a fair challenge on our hands and I thought we did a very good job of it for particularly the first half, but ultimately we just weren’t quite good enough.
“Ben Barba did some things to us that he’s been doing all year and he’s very hard to stop.
“In the first half I thought we were a bit unlucky. We caused them a lot of trouble and I thought we played really fast. We were aggressive defensively and I thought we unnerved them a little bit.
“But the two breakaway tries just gave them too much breathing space and that try just after half-time that was a killer. Our start to the second half was very, very disappointing and then we couldn’t get it back.”
Powell was pleased with the work of his forwards in getting Cas on the front foot.
He added: “Our forward pack is intact in the main. Adam Milner’s gone back into nine and Paul McShane’s been moved to half. That creates a little bit of difficulty for us, but then Jake Trueman came on and did some good things.
“It’s a good pack. They do need to defend better, more consistently, but with the ball in their hands they caused Saints a lot of trouble.”
Powell was frustrated with the officials again over their interpretation of obstruction. While the Tigers conceded two penalties near their own line for blocking runners going after kicks ahead St Helens were not penalised at their end when they did the same on several occasions.
“The decisions with the obstructions were inconsistent,” added the Tigers coach.
“It was clear that what St Helens were doing was similar if not worse than what we were getting penalised for.
“It’s just ridiculous in that there was no consistency. It was really disappointing.
“We got no 50-50 decisions I don’t think, they all went St Helens’ way. Sometimes when you’re flying that’s the way it goes.”