Castleford Tigers: Wounded Tigers fired up for visit of Dragons – McMeeken

Mike McMeeken. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Mike McMeeken. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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WOUNDED CASTLEFORD Tigers need to come up with the right response when Catalans Dragons visit the Jungle in two days’ time.

Second-rower Mike McMeeken admits Tigers were rocked by last Sunday’s shock 13-12 defeat at Salford Red Devils, but reckons what matters now is how they respond.

Catalans Dragons playmaker Richie Myler.

Catalans Dragons playmaker Richie Myler.

“Everyone around the place has been working towards that,” said McMeeken, who found himself playing in the centres at AJ Bell Stadium following injuries to Greg Minikin and Jake Webster.

“Obviously we were pretty down from the weekend, it was pretty bad performance from ourselves and we’re looking to bounce back against a pretty tough Catalans team.”

McMeeken insisted Tigers “weren’t surprised at all” by what Salford threw at them – but he feels they should have handled it better.

And he knows Salford’s success will inspire other teams after Tigers romped to wins in their opening four games.

“Salford are a perfectly good team, a top team,” he reflected.

“We were surprised at how we coped with it; they came after us and we just didn’t react to it.

“We need to be better at that.

“We know teams now are going to come after us a lot as we started off the season pretty well and they will come looking for us now.”

Tigers struggled to handle the conditions last weekend, but McMeeken insisted that was no excuse.

“We’ve just got to make sure we react to whatever weather is thrown at us and not be afraid of playing our way of rugby either,” he added.

Despite the loss five days ago, Tigers are second in Betfred Super League and just one point off top spot.

McMeeken believes they can be “delighted” with their start to the campaign, but he predicts Catalans, who haven’t won in their last three games, will offer another tough challenge on Sunday.

“We’re starting to push for trophies,” McMeeken said.

“But we are expecting to face a tough, physical side and a very skilful side this week.

“Catalans have got two very good half-backs in Richie Myler and Luke Walsh so they’re getting marshalled around the field pretty well and they can strike at any point.

“We have to be ready for it.”

Joe Wardle.

Castleford Tigers sign Joe Wardle from Newcastle Knights on a three-year deal from 2018