Castleford Tigers go top but Powell keen to play down expectations

Justin Carney on the ball.
Justin Carney on the ball.
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Table-topping Castleford Tigers are proving their doubters wrong, but they can’t get carried away.

That was the reaction from coach Daryl Powell after Tigers made it two wins from two with a 32-6 demolition of Catalan Dragons at Mend A Hose Jungle yesterday.

The victory followed on from a 36-18 success at Bradford Bulls in First Utility Super League round one and Tigers are among only four clubs to have a 100 per cent winning record after two matches.

“I am pretty pleased,” Powell said after yesterday’s win, which lifted Tigers into top spot on points difference from St Helens, Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils. “The last two performances have shown we’ve got a little bit of something about us.

“Defensively we have got to be happy with conceding six points against a team that’s been outstanding over the last few years in Super League and we’ve scored over 30 points in each of our first two games.

“There’s quite a lot of people who doubted we’d be able to score points after what we’d recruited and what we’ve lost. I think we answered a few of those questions, so I was pretty pleased with the overall effort.

“But having said that I think there’s still loads of improvement in us as well. We’re not going to fall in love with ourselves too much, but there’s some good times there.”

Tigers received 12 penalties to Catalan’s five and Powell felt discipline was a key factor in their success.

“I thought we gave a couple of sloppy penalties away, but overall I think our discipline’s really good,” he reflected.

“I suppose that comes from improving your defence a bit. We are working hard in all aspects of our performance to try and get everything as tight as we possibly can.

“I thought our structure could have been a little bit better. When we opened the game up we looked very good and some of the ad-lib play was excellent, but structurally there’s a couple of things we can get better.

“But you play to the qualities of your team and I think we’ve got a good quality team who are working so hard together. You have a team that’s greater than the sum of its parts at times.

“We’ve got high-quality players in there and they are pretty close. I thought there were a lot of qualities out there, with and without the ball and the attitude and commitment of the players is exceptional.”

Winger Justin Carney was Tigers’ star man, scoring three tries and setting up another. Powell said: “He is certainly a handful. You want to give him as much space as you can. He got some space and there were times when he didn’t have much and he still made things happen. That’s Justin Carney and the qualities he’s got as an athlete.

“He is a difficult player to handle, no doubt about that. Having said that, I thought Michael Shenton did a great job on the inside, to give him the space.”

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