Castleford Tigers need to 'put things right' against Warrington Wolves says Daniel Smith
Castleford Tigers have some making up to do when they visit Warrington Wolves today (Saturday).
Forward Daniel Smith admits they dropped well below their standards when they were beaten 26-22 by Hull KR five days ago.
And with a Challenge Cup semi-final, also against Warrington, just two weeks away, he says they need to get quickly back on track.
“We know ourselves Monday wasn’t good enough - and it has been coming for a while, to be honest,” Smith reflected.
“Performances haven’t been where they need to be, but hopefully this week we can put that right.
“Warrington are obviously coming off a defeat as well, so it’s two teams looking to put things right.
“Without looking too far ahead, we’ve got a Challenge Cup semi-final coming up as well, so we need to gain some momentum for that and really hit the ground running.”
Suaia Matagi will make his Tigers debut today, after recovering from a calf injury.
The forward joined Tigers in pre-season on a year-long loan from Huddersfield Giants and Smith is looking forward to playing alongside him.
“He’s threatening with the ball,” he said.
“He’s a short, stocky guy, strong and he rumbles the defensive line.
“Hopefully he can get out there and show what he can do.”
Smith is also keen to impress after recently signing a new contract which will keep him at Castleford until the end of 2023.
The former Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity player joined his hometown club from Huddersfield in 2019 and revealed: “I had an option in my last contract, which was in Castleford’s favour, so I couldn’t really talk to any other clubs.
“Cas took up the option and gave me another year, which was a bonus for me because I always wanted to stay here.
“It’s good to have that security because previously I was just signing one-year deals, which isn’t good when you have a young family.
“Now I have two years I can concentrate on playing rugby and putting my best forward.”
Smith, elder brother of Rhinos’ Cameron Smith, insisted: “I always knew I was a good player, but I just hadn’t had the opportunity.
“I enjoy playing here, whereas before I didn’t really enjoy playing rugby if I’m honest.
“I had a few bad injuries and it just took its toll on me, but I’ve rediscovered my love for the game and am really enjoying it.”
Smith credited Tigers coach Daryl Powell with helping him regain his enthusiasm.
“Powelly likes middles who can ball play and I like to do that in my game,” he said.
“The game is getting like that – middles have to strike a balance about knowing when to run and when to pass – so he has helped me massively with that.
“He has obviously given me an opportunity in the first place, which I can’t be thankful enough for.
“He has really helped my game in the one percenters.”