An impressive nine-try display against Hull FC in their first pre-season warm-up with as many as 10 first team players sitting on the sidelines highlighted the strength in depth of this year’s Castleford Tigers squad according to head coach Daryl Powell.
The Tigers boss was pleased with the manner of the all-round performance in the Boxing Day game with his players showing what they had been working on in training and putting down an immediate marker.
“It was not Hull’s strongest team, but you can only do what’s put in front of you and I thought it was a really professional performance from everybody,” said Powell.
“There was a lot of good quality in there with and without the ball.
“You are always looking at the things you’ve practised and whether the players are applying the things you’ve worked on consistently and there was a lot of evidence that was the case so it was a pleasing performance.
“We had a very young team for a fair chunk of the game and the way our young guys went about their work was really pleasing as well.
“Some of the intent of the way that we went about our business defensively was something I was looking for in this game and I felt we won the field position battle hands down in the first half, which is obviously a crucial part of any rugby league game. The way we handled ourselves defensively was a big plus for us.
“The beauty of the squad we’ve built up this year is that most players have got a fair bit of pressure on them.
“Obviously there’s some senior players who are right on top of their game and if they are anywhere near on their game they are in the team week in, week out. But we’ve got a lot of competition across most positions and the game will have raised awareness for some of the guys that didn’t play that there’s a real depth about us this year.”
Castleford showed that there is life after Denny Solomona as they scored six of their nine tries on the flanks despite the absence of the 40-try winger.
“We tend to express ourselves with the ball at the right time and we scored some smart tries,” added Powell.
“That didn’t aid Paul McShane’s kicking for goal, but it was tough for him with the wind and how far out wide we scored our tries.
“If you are on our left wing you are going to score tries and that’s a given. Greg Minikin showed that, with a different half-back in there.”