Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell takes inspiration from Leeds Rhinos' 2017 Grand Final win after his side crumble in the Jungle
Shocked coach Daryl Powell’s mind went back four years to a night when the boot was on the other foot following Castleford Tigers’ 60-6 drubbing by Leeds Rhinos.
Tigers’ worst home loss to their fierce rivals came just eight days before they face in-form Warrington Wolves in a Betfred Challenge Cup semi-final.
Powell admitted his below-strength side were “really poor”, but insisted they can bounce back.
He recalled: “In 2017 we played against Leeds here and beat them by 60-odd points and we lost in the Grand Final to Leeds.
“Brian McDermott [then Rhinos’ coach] mentioned that straight after the game.
“It [Friday night] is a terrible loss, but it’s not the end of the world.
“The one thing we have got is an opportunity next week to put that straight.
“It is a great opportunity against a team who are bang in form.
“Clearly, nobody’s going to give us a chance next week, but we’ve got to turn it around pretty quickly and get ourselves ready for a huge game that’s pretty significant.
“There’s a couple of parallels there which I think’s a great reason why we have to remain calm and focus on what we do from here on in.”
Powell admitted the semi-final was “without a doubt” a distraction for some players.
He said: “That’s disappointing, but it is a reality.
“Ultimately we’ve got to get a team out there that can defend better than it did tonight.
“Some of the players’ defensive efforts were unbelievably unacceptable.
“Those boys won’t be in the team, it’s as simple as that.
“I need to pick a team that can defend.”
Of Tigers’ performance, Powell added: “It was tough to watch.
“The team we had out there was lacking any kind of fluency and consistency.
“I am not excusing anything, I thought we were really poor.
“Obviously, defensively we weren’t there, but this is a tough team to pick at the moment.
“We started the season really well, we’ve now lost our last three and the last couple of weeks in particular it has been almost impossible.
“I thought Pete [Mata’utia] was going to pull out just before the game with his back, but I am not excusing anything.
“I am a proud man, always have been, always have been a winner and that was so disappointing, it is hard to put it into words.”
The coach is hopeful Niall Evalds, Jake Trueman, Nathan Massey, Oliver Holmes, Michael Shenton and Adam Milner could return for the semi-final.
He reflected: We’ve got people out of position everywhere.
“We’ve got three-quarters of our spine missing in Gaz O’Brien, Jake Trueman and Niall Evalds and then I’ve had to make a decision to take Danny Richardson off and move Macca [Paul McShane] to half.
“It is hard, but I have got to get a team out there next week who can do a job for us and get us to a Challenge Cup final and that’s what I’ll try and do this week.
“Ultimately, Leeds had a much stronger team on the field than us and while we didn’t handle it that well, that’s the reality of the situation.”
Explaining Richardson's substitution in the first half, Powell said: "We conceded quite a few tries - he's not on his own, it's the right-edge, but we ended up conceding numerous tries and I felt like I needed to make a change there."
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