CASTLEFORD TIGERS will be looking to put their week in the sun to good use when they take on visitors Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Sunday.
Tigers recently returned from a warm weather training camp in Lanzarote and coach Daryl Powell believes his team are in good shape two weeks out from their first competitive fixture.
Tomorrow’s derby is Tigers’ only warm-up game against top-flight opposition and Powell said a “superb” camp has left them raring to go.
“The weather was great and the camp itself has really developed since the last time I went there,” Powell said.
“The players were excellent the way they went about it.
“It was good in all ways and we got so much out of it.”
Conditions tomorrow will be different to the firm pitches Tigers have been training on, but Powell reckons Wakefield – who visit the Jungle in First Utility Super League round two – will offer the sort of test his players need.
“They had a good win against Leeds and will be feeling pretty confident about themselves,” he predicted.
“Brian Smith has had a lot of time with them now and he’ll be looking to see some fruits of that.
“We have got them early in the season, so from that perspective we are looking to put a marker down.
“We have done a lot of work in pre-season on a lot of things and to see some of those put into practice will be good.”
Smith, the Wildcats coach, is also expecting an intense encounter.
“Wakefield could play Castleford at rounders and it would be on,” he reflected.
“It will be a good test.”
Wakefield are unbeaten in pre-season, with wins at Leeds and Featherstone Rovers and Smith will be looking for more signs of progress.
“We’ve had two really tough games, with the conditions and the track itself at Featherstone, which was pretty tough,” Smith said.
“We have had a couple of little setbacks, but I hope nothing major.”
Scott Moore underwent surgery after damaging a biceps in the opening moments against Leeds and will miss the start of the season.
Scott Anderson has had an operation to repair his nose, which was broken in the same game and Mickael Simon has been bothered by a minor back complaint.
Smith is hopeful both Anderson and Simon will be available for the visit of Widnes Vikings in round one or the return to the Jungle on February 14.
A youthful Tigers side battled back from an early 12-0 deficit to defeat hosts York 20-16 at Bootham Crescent last night – thanks to a late Greg Minikin try against his old club.
Early touchdowns by Mark Emmett on four minutes and Brad Hey four minutes later, both converted by Richard Wilkinson put York in control.
But tries by Jy Hitchox (12) and Conor Fitzsimmons (31), the latter converted by Ryan Hampshire, made it 12-10 at the break.
Patrick Diskin’s try (45) gave cas the lead for the first time, but James Morlan’s try seven minutes from looked to have earned a draw for the hosts until Minikin’s dramatic late intervention (76) won it for Cas.
Castleford Tigers: from Cook, Crooks, Dorn, Gale, Hampshire, O Holmes, Jewitt, Lynch, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Moors, Monaghan, Roberts, Shenton, Solomona, Webster.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: from Annakin, Arona, Arundel, Ashurst, England, Finn, Gibson, Hall, Howarth, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Kirmond, Lyne, Miller, Molloy, Scruton, Tansey, A Tupou, B Tupou, Sio, Walton, Yates.