Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell remaining tight-lipped on rumours Man of Steel Luke Gale is set to return to Leeds Rhinos

CASTLEFORD TIGERS boss Daryl Powell is sticking to his guns as speculation persists over the future of England scrum-half Luke Gale.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 11:26 pm
Luke Gale
Luke Gale

Gale, Man of Steel two years ago, has been strongly linked with a move to his hometown club Leeds Rhinos, where he began his career as an academy player.

Gale has not played this year due to an Achilles injury, but that hasn’t halted the rumours.

Powell has consistently insisted he expects Gale to be a Castleford player next year and questioned about the situation yesterday’s weekly press conference, Powell said: “My answer would be the same as last time, I haven’t got anything to say.

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Daryl Powell

“Luke Gale is contracted to us next year and, as of this moment in time, that’s the way it will remain.”

Powell’s focus is entirely on preparing for Thursday’s do-or-die elimination play-off at Salford Red Devils.

Tigers are aiming to become the first team to reach a Super League Grand Final from fifth spot under a top-five play-offs format.

Rhinos won the title after finishing fifth in 2011 and 2012, when eight teams took part in the post-season series.

In each of those seasons Rhinos had one home game before going on the road, but all Tigers’ ties this year are away.

“We get motivation from different things, but it is such a tough thing to do,” Powell said.

“It would be something special [reaching Old Trafford], so from that point of view we have grabbed hold of that a little bit.

“It has been done from fifth before so it is certainly not impossible, but it is very difficult.”

He added: “You are away from home in three games if you get to the Grand Final and we have just got through the first hurdle.

“We have got an opportunity now to get through the second. We are probably the biggest underdogs and we have got a lot of players missing.

“There are some special things being done by a group of players who I think are outstanding at the moment.”

Tigers are no strangers to sudden-death, having had to beat Hull in their penultimate league game to scrape into the top-five.

They lost at Wigan Warriors the week after, when fifth was still up for grabs, before a hard-fought 14-12 victory at Warrington Wolves five days ago.

Powell said: “It’s the end of the season if you lose. It has been three weeks straight when we have known this is it, we have to win – and two out of those three weeks it has gone our way.

“I think we are in a good place. Four weeks ago, we went to St Helens and lost 4-0, but it showed us we are in a place we perhaps haven’t been before and that is pleasing to see.”

Salford’s eight-game winning run ended when they were pipped 18-12 at Wigan last Friday. Powell said: “They are a good side, but nobody is infallible and unbeatable.

“We are confident we can go and win, we know it is going to be difficult, but we have just got to play well. We need every player to play well, we need a massive lead, like we got last week, from our senior players – and I think we are good enough do it.”

Powell stressed: “We are ready to go. We are used to travelling over to Lancashire, it has prepared us for what we have got in front of us. We have the same preparation in terms of what we do when we get over there, we are three games from doing something unbelievably special and we have to draw motivation from that.”