Castleford Tigers v Warrington Wolves - Super League prospects boosted by 'depth, experience and speed' says Daryl Powell
Entering his final season at the club, coach Daryl Powell says he is “massively” ambitious for what Castleford Tigers could achieve this year.
Tigers face a tough opening game against Warrington Wolves at Emerald Headingley on Sunday and, despite bringing in only four new faces, Powell reckons his team are capable of going all the way in both competitions.
They finished a disappointing eighth in Betfred Super League last term, but Powell - who will move on at the end of the year and has been linked with Warrington - insisted: “I think we have got a really good squad, with depth, experience and speed.”
He observed: “We have a high-quality group of people and players who believe in the club and who have high standards in everything they do.
“Niall Evalds looks great at the back and we have got an awesome hooker.
“The half-backs have got a decent bit of depth about them - Jake Trueman is another year more mature, Danny Richardson is embedded in with us now and Gaz O’Brien has been outstanding.
“The spine of the team is very strong and around them we have got good depth.
“It will be challenging, some teams have recruited really well and, as usual, we have been criticised for our recruitment, so we’ll just get on with it.
“I am really excited and looking forward to the challenges ahead, starting with this game against Warrington.”
Warrington have yet to win a Grand Final despite ambitious recruitment over the past decade, but Powell regards them as leading contenders this year.
“I watched them against Leigh last week and they were pretty good, I thought,” he said.
“The left-edge in particular looks like it has a lot of strike with Ben Currie and Toby King and we will be mindful of that.
“Gareth Widdop looks a lot stronger as well, but we are looking forward to getting stuck into the season.”
Former Salford Red Devils full-back Evalds and utility man Jordan Turner, signed from Huddersfield Giants, are both set to make their first Super League appearance for Castleford.
Another recruit from Huddersfield, Suaia Matagi, suffered a calf muscle injury in training earlier this month and misses out along with James Clare (knee) and Sosaia Feki (Achilles).
Liam Watts, George Griffin, Danny Richardson and Greg Eden are all named in Powell’s 21-man squad after missing the trial game at Hull KR two weeks ago.
Rob Butler and Robbie Mulhern could make their Warrington debut, but star import Greg Inglis is not included in their initial 21-man.
Castleford Tigers: from Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Trueman, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, Blair, Milner, Massey, Griffin, O’Neill, Hepi, Sene-Lefao, Smith, Eden, Turner, O’Brien.
Warrington Wolves: from Ashton, Austin, Butler, Charnley, D Clark, J Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hill, Hughes, King, Lineham, Mamo, Mulhern, Philbin, Ratchford, Robson, Thewlis, Walker, Widdop, Wrench.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).
Kick-off: Sunday, 2.45pm at Emerald Headingley.
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