RIVAL COACHES Daryl Powell and James Webster are both expecting their side’s toughest pre-season test on Sunday.
Powell’s Castleford Tigers have won their three trial games so far, against Featherstone Rovers, Bradford Bulls and Doncaster, but face Super League opposition for the first time on Sunday, at home to Widnes Vikings.
Wildcats lost to Leeds Rhinos on Boxing Day, but that was only mid-way through pre-season and Webster – whose team beat Featherstone earlier this month – believes tomorrow’s visitors Hull will provide a much sterner challenge.
“It is a pretty important game for us,” said Powell, whose side will have home advantage against Wildcats for First Utility Super League round one, in 15 days’ time.
“We are playing against a Super League team and it should be a good test. We’ve played three Championship teams and got a bit better each game, but this is an important one to gauge where we are at.
“Last year we played Bradford just before the start of the season.
“They weren’t going fantastic at the time, but we were superb on the day.
“This one will be a tougher challenge and it is just what we need.”
Webster has a similar view going into the Gareth Ellis testimonial game against Hull.
“It’ll be our biggest test by far,” he predicted.
“Nothing against Featherstone, I thought they were really strong.
“But this is a team we are going to play against in the league this season and they have shown some exceptional form in pre-season.
“They have bought well, they are a good team and I expect them to be really tough opposition.”
Webster felt Wildcats improved from the Leeds game to the clash with Rovers and wants to see similar progress tomorrow.
“That’s what we’d expect at this stage of the year,” he said.
“Until the real stuff starts you don’t quite know where you’re at. We need to continue to make small steps. Regardless of the score this week, as long as we can make some steps forward, that’s what matters.”
Castleford Tigers (v Widnes) from: Boyle, Carney, Cook, Crossley, Dorn, Finn, Gale, Gibson, O Holmes, Lynch, Massey, McMeeken, Millington, Milner, Moore, Roberts, Shenton, Solomona, Tansey, Webster, Wheeldon. Referee: Ben Thaler. Kick-off: Sunday, 3pm.
Wakefield Wildcats (v Hull) from: Hall, Riley, Collis, Lyne, Owen, Miller, T Smith, Scruton, McShane, Simon, Kirmond, Washbrook, D Smith, Anderson, Godinet, Paea, Ryan, Sammut, Johnstone, Lauitiiti, Molloy, Annakin. Referee: James Child. Kick-off: Sunday, 2pm.