CASTLEFORD TIGERS boss Daryl Powell reckons Super League’s new era is delivering just what the sport needed.
Round 10 began with Leeds Rhinos four points clear at the top of the table, but a similar gap separating second-placed St Helens from Warrington Wolves, in ninth.
“Leeds look the best side at the moment,” said Powell, whose team are at home to Hull KR today.
“They look like they have a fair bit about them.
“But it is tight, everybody is beating everybody.
“Obviously Wakefield have had a tough run, but there’s no real gap – you lose a game and you’re down in the bottom-four, win one and you’re up in the top-four.
“That’s what everybody wanted, so hopefully people are happy.”
Rovers began the weekend in fourth, four places, but just two points, above Tigers.
“They’ve won their last three,” Powell observed of today’s foes.
“You have to give their coach Chris Chester a big pat on the back for the way they’ve turned things around.
“They had something like 13 new players and we know how difficult it has been to get eight in.
“The expectation on them wasn’t great and sometimes that releases the pressure a fair bit, but they’ve done a good job. The half-backs look great.
“Albert Kelly is lightning and they’ve got a real controller there in Terry Campese, so they’ve been pretty good.
“I think they’ve been impressive.”
Tigers prop Lee Jewitt could make his first appearance since last September today, following surgery on a hip injury and then a double hernia operation.
Also back in contention, after being rested, are Steve Crossley, Liam Finn, Ashley Gibson and Oliver Holmes.
Will Maher, who was among the substitutes for Monday’s win at Warrington, drops out and Luke Dorn (hamstring) and Matt Cook (ankle) both picked up injuries in that game which will keep them sidelined this afternoon.
Powell said: “It’s great to have Lee back.
“He’s a really good quality player.
“We got Frankie [Mariano] back on Monday and he was really good for us.
“It is pretty important we’ve got a couple of guys back, because we’ve got some injuries and it’s all hands to the pump at the moment.
“It has been a tough Easter, but the boys have been superb and we are looking forward to the next challenge now,” said Powell.
Kris Welham and Tyrone McCarthy are back in contention for Rovers, but James Donaldson (leg injury) and Maurice Blair (suspended) miss out for Chester’s men.
Castleford Tigers: from Tansey, Gibson, Channing, Shenton, Carney, Roberts, Gale, Lynch, S Moore, Wheeldon, Mariano, Millington, Massey, Milner, Boyle, Crossley, Finn, Jewitt, Holmes.
Hull KR: from Allgood, Boudebza, Burke, Campese, Cockayne, Dixon, Goulding, Green, Horne, Kelly, Larroyer, Lunt, Mantellato, McCarthy, Ollett, Salter, Sio, Walker, Welham
Referee: Ben Thaler.
Kick-off: Today, 5.15pm.