TWO-TRY CENTRE Ashley Gibson reckons Castleford Tigers are “back in the mix” after their 22-20 win at Salford Red Devils.
The victory lifted Tigers a place to sixth in the First Utility Super League table, level on points with fourth-place Huddersfield Giants, but Gibson admitted a big improvement is needed if they are going to push for a top-four spot.
The top-eight this season will qualify for a new competition to decide who plays in October’s Grand Final.
Points from the first 23 rounds carry over to the Super-8s and the top-four at the end of the weekly rounds play an extra home match in the new division.
“It was a bit of a scrappy game, but we got the two points and we’re back up there in the mix of things now,” Gibson said after the narrow victory two days ago.
“Everyone’s beating everyone at the minute.
“If you win a couple of games you’re up there in the top-four, lose a couple and you’re down near the bottom.
“We’ll take some good things into Sunday, against Catalans, but we have definitely got a lot to build on and a lot to work on after that performance.”
Gibson scored both Tigers’ first-half tries – breaking his duck for the season – as they hit back from 10-0 down at AJ Bell Stadium.
He said: “I thought it was probably my best game this year in attack, but there were a few slips in defence.
“For the first try Adz (Adam Milner) popped it up nicely for me and a gap opened up. The second was a kick and I got over at the corner, but it was good to get off the mark.”
Gibson is in his second season at Castleford, after joining them from Salford. He said competition for places is bringing the best out of all Tigers’ outside-backs.
“There’s a few players in my position – there’s Michael Channing and Jake Webster as well – and that puts you on your toes and makes you play well every week,” he said.
“You have to be on it every week if you want to keep your spot.”
Teenager Ash Robson has added to that competition after scoring a try on his debut against Salford.
Robson – normally a full-back or half-back – started on the wing alongside Gibson and was one of the stars of Tigers’ below-par display.
“He came in and played well,” said Gibson. “He has been playing well in the academy and his try shows how hard he kick-chased.
“Some will say he got a lucky bounce, but he kick-chased hard and put himself in the frame to score the try.”