Challenge Cup semi-final reaction - Daryl Powell 'delighted' after Castleford Tigers secure place at Wembley
Delighted coach Daryl Powell hailed Castleford Tigers' 'near-perfect' first half display - and hit-out at his critics - after masterminding a first return to Wembley since 2014.
Eight days after a 60-6 beating by Leeds Rhinos, Tigers responded in the best-possible fashion to shock Warrington Wolves 35-20 and book a date with St Helens in the Betfred Challenge Cup final at the national stadium on July 17.
Tigers led 19-0 at half-time and were never really threatened after the break, despite a more even second-period.
Powell described his players as "superb" and described himself as “obviously delighted”.
But it was clear criticism following last week’s defeat, Tigers’ third in succession, had hurt.
He said: "It has been a big swing in games, we lost by 60 last week and they won by 60 so you wouldn't have given us much chance this week, but the first half performance was near-perfect.
"We got rattled a little bit early on in the second half by Warrington, but I just thought from everybody, from one to 17, it was a courageous effort.
"We showed we still care. I think there's been a few people doubting that and I'd like to say to every Castleford fan, I am concentrating on this job and all the players are."
Powell will join Warrington as their new coach at the end of this season, but insisted: "I wouldn't doubt the commitment of anybody in our camp.
"I think it's ridiculous to do so and I would say that to anybody."
Tigers' side included eight players who didn't feature against Leeds.
Powell admitted: "Quality players make a big difference.
"We've had boys who have been working hard, but when you have so many quality players missing, that's going to happen to them.
"There’s been a lot of people jumping up and down and I think that's crazy, I don't understand it at all."