Castleford Tigers: Powell confident squad can build on a great pre-season

Daryl Powell

Daryl Powell

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GETTING THE basics right is Castleford Tigers’ top priority for tomorrow’s season kick-off at Bradford Bulls.

GETTING THE basics right is Castleford Tigers’ top priority for tomorrow’s season kick-off at Bradford Bulls.

Tigers whetted their fans’ appetite with a stunning 66-10 win away to Bradford in a pre-season game just two weeks ago.

Boss Daryl Powell is expecting a much tougher challenge tomorrow, but reckons if his players are switched on mentally the result will take care of itself.

Looking ahead to Tigers’ opening game in First Utility Super League, Powell said: “Regardless of the score, I was really impressed with the way we went about our business against Bradford in the trial match.

“That’s what I’m looking for – that attitude and commitment and mentality to go about your job in the right way.

“Rugby league is a tough sport and if you don’t get the basics right, the fundamental approach to the game, you come into some problems.”

Powell stressed: “I think we’ve got the right kind of player and mentality to get the job done so that’s what I’m looking for – to set ourselves a marker on the way we are going to go about our business this year.

“All that attitude, commitment, enthusiasm, energy and application to our game – all the little things we practiced in pre-season and saw against Bradford last time – we need to see again, so we build a platform for ourselves right from the first game.”

There’s a feeling in the Tigers camp that 2014 could be a breakthrough year, after recent seasons of struggle.

“We’ve got a few injuries, but we’ve got a strong squad so we are really looking forward to the challenge,” Powell said.

“We are ready to go now. It has been a long pre-season and the players have been outstanding in every department.

“We have a tough challenge in front of us over the whole season. We’ll take each one as it comes, but the first one is important – we need to get off to a good start.”

As for the result two weeks ago, Powell stressed: “When you put a score on somebody the motivation moves to their side. There’s going to be no resting on that performance and feeling like all we’ll have to do is turn up and the job will be done.

“We know Bradford will come out and be much stiffer opposition. They’ve got some good players and a top quality coach and rugby league players are proud people anyway. We know what we’ll be faced with and we need to play well.”

Marc Sneyd, Frankie Mariano, Scott Wheeldon and Liam Finn are all set to make their competitive debut for Tigers tomorrow, while Luke Dorn and Andy Lynch will be beginning a second spell at the club.

Finn last played in Super League for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats a decade ago, which is a record break between top-flight appearances.

Long-term absentees Ryan Boyle, Jake Webster and Lee Gilmour are all still sidelined and Ashley Gibson, James Clare and Nathan Massey miss out due to injuries suffered in pre-season.

Bulls coach Francis Cummins is upbeat, despite what he described as a “freakish” result two weeks ago.

He said: “I know we are a lot fitter than we were last season and the lads who have trained have trained the house down.”

Bradford Bulls: from Addy, Bridge, Diskin, Donaldson, Foster, Gale, Gaskell, George, Henry, Kear, Kearney, Manuokafoa, O’Brien, Olbison, Purtell, Roberts, Scruton, Sidlow, Walker

Castleford Tigers: from Tansey, Dixon, Shenton, Carney, Dorn, Sneyd, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Millington, Hauraki, Clark, O Holmes, Mariano, Wheeldon, Owen, Channing, Fleming, Finn.

Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3pm.

Gary Thornton has previously coached Batley Bulldogs, Doncaster and York City Knights

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