Castleford Tigers still have time on their side, insists Daryl Powell
DEFIANT BOSS Daryl Powell believes Castleford Tigers can still win Betfred Super League this year.
Tigers will go into Friday’s game at Salford Red Devils sitting fifth in the table, one place and two points above their opponents who have a better for and against.
Powell’s men are a massive 14 points behind leaders St Helens and only six off the foot of the ladder and Powell conceded the season so far has been “a bit frustrating”, but he stressed: “We’ve just got to keep going.”
The top-five this year will go into the play-offs and Powell insisted: “We are still in a decent position.”
With every team from fourth-placed Catalans Dragons downwards being closer in points to bottom club London Broncos than leaders Saints, Powell noted: “It is a really interesting league table this year - look at Hull KR beating Warrington and St Helens getting beaten by London the week before.
“I think Saints are the best team by a distance at the moment, but you never know.
“Look at last season and 2017 with us, it’s all do-able if you stay in the fight and keep going.
“If you give yourself a chance of being in the five it is winnable from there.
“Leeds have shown that in the past.
“We have just got to keep believing and keep improving and working hard and I still think there’s a shed full of improvement in us.”
Powell believes if his players can be more consistent the table will look after itself.
He added: “Consistency is a big word for us at the moment.
“We gone from the sublime to the ridiculous in games and we need some of our players to step up.
“We’ve got to be better at dealing with high balls. Our wingers have got to be on the ball with that, our centres as well.
“We need improvement from players and a collective mindset of keep working hard and keep believing we can do it.”
Tigers will drop out of the top-five if they lose tomorrow and Powell admitted the first challenge is to keep Salford’s half-backs, Robert Lui and Jackson Hastings, quiet.
He warned: “They are both really good runners of the football
“Hastings is playing some great rugby league, he is running more than any other player in the competition, which is unbelievable for a half-back, but he is 18-20 carries per game or he’s over 100 metres.
“He is a real threat. It will be a tough game.”
Powell will name his initial 19-man squad today. Half-back Jamie Ellis, who has been linked with a move to Salford, is available for the first time this season, but the coach said: “We won’t have too many changes.
“We didn’t pick up any injuries [in last week’s defeat by Hull] and I have just got to make decisions on form.”
Forward Oliver Holmes has suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee injury.
Powell confirmed: “He is going to have a further medical opinion. We will wait and see on that, but I don’t think the prognosis is great.”