Castleford Tigers boss claims Wakefield Trinity are derby favourites

Castleford may be on a 13-game winning streak against their fierce local rivals, but Tigers coach Daryl Powell says Wakefield Trinity are favourites for this week’s derby.

Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 5:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 5:08 pm

Tigers suffered their first defeat of the season at Catalans Dragons last Saturday, the day before Trinity broke their Betfred Super League duck with a win over Warrington Wolves.

Powell, whose side have home advantage in two days’ time, described the Catalans defeat as “painful to watch” and insisted: “It is an important game for us this week.”

He said: “Obviously it is a local derby and for the fans and everyone concerned with the club it means a lot.

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Pete Mata'utia. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“They had a great win last week so they probably come into this as favourites. For us, we just need to play well.

“We were so poor last week in pretty much every department and we’ve got a lot of work to do in our training sessions, but it’s more between the ears I think we need to get it right. I thought we were off from the start last week and we want to put that right on Friday.”

Powell had no excuses for his side’s below-par performance in France, stressing the travel and accommodation were “spot on”.

He said: “I just thought it was poor, mentally a lot of players were just way off. We never really got the game back.

“I thought there were a couple of periods there where we looked like we might have something about us, but it fizzled out pretty quick. We didn’t have any consistency of effort or accuracy to be able to get over the top of a pretty big and physical Catalans team who played well on the day.”

Though Tigers have not lost to Wakefield since 2015, Powell insisted that has no relevance this week.

“We have just got to play well,” he stressed. “The past can’t help you. It will be a tough game.

“They showed last week they have a fair bit of spirit about them. They struck back from a loss against Hull KR and will be a challenge.

“They have good players: Ryan Hampshire has slotted in well at half in the absence of Danny Brough and they potentially have Dave Fifita back this week so they will certainly be a physical challenge for us.

“Both wingers are fair players and Bill Tupou plays out of his skin. He really is strong and across the field they are a handful.

“Kyle Wood’s sharp at nine, obviously Tom Johnstone’s back from injury and he’s electric so there’s plenty to be looking after in their team.

“We need to play well to win this game.”

Local bragging rights are at stake, but Powell added: “The players don’t need any extra motivation, they know they need to improve in every department. Last week we only had a couple of players who were somewhere near getting a decent performance in.

“Some boys worked really hard, but mentally we were just never in a place where we were great at all and as a result of that the motivation should already be there.”

Powell was due to name his squad for the round four derby at noon today. He said: “Pete [Mata’utia] will come back [from suspension] so there will probably be a bit of a change on the right edge, but it will probably be the week after when we start to see the potential of a few players coming back - and then the boys have to play well.

“At the minute, if they’re fit at the start of the year they’ve been in.

“I want to start to be able to change that pretty quickly so we see the end of those types of performances.”