Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell reckons his side’s results in recent weeks have shown that they are settling down and getting their game together after their difficult start to the Super League season.
After narrowly losing their first three games the Tigers have won three of their last four matches and are now up to seventh place in what is turning out to be a close and competitive season at the top level.
Powell told the Express: “We started the season unluckily I thought and we got a bit of luck with the bounce of the ball on one of our tries the other night so it shows it tends to turn round if you keep working hard
“We’ve not been far away in all but one of our games, at Huddersfield, so we are starting to piece things together.
“Obviously we’ve got some tough challenges ahead, particularly these two games over Easter, but I think we’ve stabilised ourselves.
“We’ve won three out of our last four, which was crucial after the start we had.
Powell did not believe the latest win over Hull FC saw the Tigers at their attacking best, but he was pleased with the way his side stuck at it and defended their line strongly in the face of strong pressure from the opponents.
He said: “We had a patched up team, particularly our pack where there were a few changes in there and we had to work really hard to win the game.
“We were never at our best, but I thought we were resolute defensively. We hung on and there was a lot of good character in there.
“They got five or six repeat sets on our line and they are always difficult when they back up on you with three or four sets at a time.
“We made 60 more tackles than our average in a game so it was tough defensively.
“We got one or two things wrong like you do in a game of Rugby League, but we kept turning up for each other and our scrambled defence was really good.
“It was good to see that we can keep a team out and win a game that was pretty tight.
“We managed to come out the other side winning and we’re really pleased with it.”
It was not just defence from Cas as they also scored some impressive tries that pleased the head coach in the way they were executed.
He said: “We scored some good tries, Luke Gale finishing off Grant Millington’s offload and Andy Lynch and Grant Millington combining for the second try of Luke’s.
“Then Justin Carney scored another one of his trademark one-on-one I’m going through you tries.
“He’s always been good at it, but he’s been outstanding this season and he’s scored nine tries already.”
Powell had words of praise for several of his players for their display against Hull.
He added: “I thought Scott Wheeldon had his best game for the club and was really, really good. Grant Millington was strong, Luke Gale finished some good things off and Adam Milner’s second stint was outstanding.
“Our left edge, particularly Carney, getting us quick play the balls and penalties, was good too.
“Ashley Gibson played really well in his first game back. He had a good pre-season, but then tore his hamstring in his first competitive game when he looked like he was going to make a break.
“He’s come back and looks like he’s never been away. I thought he looked quick and incisive when he carried the ball and went on a couple of really long runs.
“He defended well and marshalled our right edge really well. He’s a good instinctive defender Gibbo and he’s a very strong chance of keeping his place this week.
“Everybody worked hard, but some people stood out a little bit.
“James Clare was disappointed that he dropped that ball when he didn’t take a clear try scoring opportunity, but he got a fair bit of stick from Marc Sneyd’s kicking game, Leon Pryce went over there a couple of times as well and he did well to handle a lot of what was thrown at him.
“He’s done really well. Some of the things he’s done in finished tries has been excellent.
“We keep working on his back field work, his yardage stuff, but he’s handling it pretty well. He’s stepped in and done a great job, he’s justified his selection and been pretty consistent.”