Castleford coach Daryl Powell felt his side “have a fair bit of work to do” after their first pre-season outing on Boxing Day.
The Tigers were 12-0 up after just eight minutes against Halifax in Craig Huby’s testimonial match but they found themselves 30-26 down in the dying minutes before winger Richard Owen’s fourth try earned them a 30-30 draw.
Cas fielded six new signings including a new half-back combination of Luke Dorn and Marc Sneyd while young first-team debutants Jordan Howden, Will Maher and Brad Day were on the bench.
“Obviously we are pretty disappointed that we didn’t come out on top but I thought Halifax were good and we looked a fair bit disjointed,” said Powell.
“We had new half-backs in there and I thought our combinations weren’t great to be honest. We have a fair bit of work to do but you would expect that in a Christmas friendly. We’ve a lot of new things we’ve worked on and we need to continue to work on the clarity of what we are doing when we’ve got the ball.”
Both teams conceded six tries but Powell was reasonably satisfied with his side’s defensive display.
“I thought for the most part we were pretty good defensively - we just gave away some ridiculous tries. We gave some really soft things away when we should have had possession,” he added.
“Obviously, we’ve got a significant number of high quality players to go in there as well so while I recognise there’s a lot of hard work to do you’ve also got to be realistic about what you have to come back in as well.”
Powell felt a draw was probably a fair result after Championship outfit Halifax led for much of the second-half, with ex-Batley winger Gareth Potts grabbing three tries.
“Halifax are a really good Championship side and they had some mature players out there,” said Powell.
“They were pretty physical and came at us and whilst the conditions were great in terms of a clear sky it was pretty heavy underfoot and we didn’t really get going.
“I thought we started really well. We got ourselves 12-0 ahead and then we gave away a try from a kick off. There were a couple of things like that that changed the flow of the game a little bit.
“I just said to the boys afterwards that you’ve got to recognise we have to redouble our efforts now and work hard.
“These are always tough games round about Christmas but we’ve got something to look at and put some clarity in what we are doing.
“I thought we tidied up a bit towards the end to get ourselves level. I thought Liam Finn made a bit of a difference when he went on. He added some organisation to us.
“Luke Dorn has been out of training for pretty much a month because he’s had a serious family illness in Australia so we’ve missed a little bit there in terms of our organisation but I thought Liam Finn was great when he came on and I thought Daryl Clark was outstanding. There was also outstanding effort up the middle from Craig Huby and Andy Lynch who were out there for a long while.”
Powell was also pleased with Owen’s four-try show.
“Richard Owen made a couple of errors early on but I thought he carried the ball really strongly and scored some smart tries,” he said.
“He has put on a little bit of weight and worked exceptionally hard in pre-season and I think he wanted to show that against Halifax. He certainly put his hand up. He was really strong.”
Cas did not pick up any fresh injuries on Boxing Day with Powell saying: “I think we are all right. I don’t think there was anything serious, which is always a positive.”