ON-SONG PROP Craig Huby admits he will be up against a master when third-placed Castleford Tigers take on visitors Leeds Rhinos tomorrow.
Huby will lock horns with Rhinos’ 36-year-old ex-England captain Jamie Peacock in a titanic battle in the middle of the field.
And assessing his front-row rival, Huby said: “He just keeps getting better and better – to be his age and be playing 70-80 minutes per game and doing the amount of work he’s doing is unelievable.
“He has been one of, if not the best, front-rowers – his work-rate, his attitude, everything about him is incredible.
“If I could get a quarter of what he has done it would be a nice feeling. I think he’s the one who gets them going and gets the momentum started. Hopefully if we can pull him back a bit we will have a good chance.
“Leeds are looking pretty good. They are always a strong team and they didn’t really change much in the off-season, but if we can come in with the right attitude, hopefully we can pick them off.”
Huby admitted third-placed Tigers need no extra motivation for clashes with their table-topping big city neighbours. “Being a local lad, Cas-Leeds derbies are one of the games I want to be playing in,” he stated. “You look at the calendar at the start of the season to see when you are playing them.
“I’d say it’s bigger than Cas-Wakefield, definitely. I think there’s a bit more passion between the fans as well. They [Leeds] are a bigger team I would say. They have won leagues and World Club Challenges and the way both teams have started makes it even bigger.
“I don’t think anybody expected us to be up where we are, but we are working hard for each other and enjoying playing rugby. I knew our start would be good, but I wasn’t too sure how good.
“We knew in pre-season how good we were training and how hard we were working for each other. It is a good feeling to be up there and it’s a lot different to last year. It is a good place to be. We are sitting comfortably at the top and we will be working hard to get further up.”
Daryl Powell took over as coach a year ago today and Huby said he could see – under caretaker boss Danny Orr and over the second half of the season –that Tigers were turning things around.
“For a lot of the players it was a case of ‘we need to pick ourselves up’,” he said.
“Danny did a great job in doing that. I think he put an arm around a few of the lads – myself included – and said ‘just do what you know you can do’.
“We won most of the games when Danny was in charge and Daryl picked up where he left off.”
Tigers are on their third short turnaround of the season, having played only three days ago when they lost 29-28 at Huddersfield Giants.
Playing last Friday could give Leeds an advantage, but Huby insisted: “It is pretty tough, but I think we are used to it now.
“We’ve had plenty of times when we’ve had to do it and I think all the fellas will be ready and prepared to play.
“In a way it is probably good, after losing at the weekend.
“We have got a short turnaround to get focused again and to get back to winning ways, hopefully. We just get told when we are playing and it’s our job to turn up and play. We are happy to do so. We have got a pretty deep squad this year, so a few boys might be getting rested and a few coming in, so it is not too bad.”