A 10 OUT OF 10 performance will be needed from Castleford Tigers to beat Leeds Rhinos at MAH Jungle tonight, their coach Daryl Powell reckons.
Tigers have defeated last year’s Grand Finalists Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves already this season, but Powell feels his third-placed team will need to go up to another level to match the current league leaders. He said: “This is a big challenge for us. We know we are a good side and we’ve got a fair bit of belief, but we know we need to step up to another level to get over the top of Leeds.
“We know what Leeds are all about.
“It’s clear to see what their strengths are and we know every single one of our players is going to have to play right on their potential to give us a chance of winning.”
Of Leeds, the club he coached from 2001-2003, Powell added: “I think everyone would say they are the best team in the comp’.
“They’ve got high quality players in every position. They have got such pace and you’re talking about wingers that are 107 kilos – that’s bigger than quite a lot of props.
“They are certainly a threat. They are a really good side and everybody’s talking about how good their back division is. People are talking about them being unplayable at times so we know it’s a tough challenge, but they are the best ones – the toughest challenges.
“I think we’ve responded to quite a lot of challenges so far this year. We’ve just got to go and be confident in what we can do and play our game.
“I think we are good enough to challenge Leeds, but we are going to have to be right on the money.”
Powell insisted Tigers have no need to be daunted by tonight’s task. “We have got good players and we feel we can challenge the opposition right across the competition,” he said. “The signs so far this year have been pretty positive in that regard. You don’t want to go into a game fearing the opposition, I don’t think there’s any of that.
“They are justifiably being touted as the team that’s going to be the toughest team to beat this year when it comes round to the finals.
“But we want to go into it with confidence and enjoy the challenge. There’s no point having easy wins, they don’t do anything for you.
“I think it’s the challenge we are really thriving on at the moment. The players are responding in a fantastic way and we look like a really solid team. We need to start well and go on with it for 80 minutes.”
Tigers had just three days to prepare for tonight’s game, after losing 29-28 at Huddersfield Giants last Sunday, but Powell (pictured right) stressed they aren’t feeling sorry for themselves. “The boys’ attitude has been fantastic,” he said.
“This is our third short turnaround in pretty quick succession, so it’s not ideal, but it’s there and there’s not a lot we can do about it, so there’s no point complaining about it.
“We have responded well when we’ve got beat so far this season and we’ve responded to short turnarounds really well, so I am hoping we can do it again. We just need to rock up and play. I think we will be ready, but we will find out on the night.”