Big-match preview: Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell predicts toughest test yet against Leeds Rhinos

Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell. PIC: Paul Currie/
Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell. PIC: Paul Currie/
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THEY WON by a record score when the sides met three months ago, but boss Daryl Powell reckons Castleford Tigers will need to be at their best to take two points from Leeds Rhinos tonight.

Rhinos were humiliated 66-10 at the Jungle in March, but Powell is expecting tonight’s derby to be more like the showdown last month when the sides were locked at 6-6 at the break.

Tigers went on to win the Magic Weekend clash in Newcastle 29-18 but Powell admitted Leeds pushed his side harder than the scoreline suggests.

“That was a really tough game,” said Powell, who is a former Rhinos player and coach.

“At half-time I could see the boys were in a battle.

“Leeds came after us and did some really good things and they’ve continued to improve since then.

“They will be focused and aggressive and they’ll see it as a really good opportunity to close the gap on us.

“Headingley is always a difficult place to go and get a result, but we enjoy playing there and it is about us this week and making sure we are where we need to be.

“We know it is going to be a tough game and we need to be at our best to give ourselves a chance of turning them over.”

Tigers – six points clear at the top of Betfred Super League – are on the back of a 32-24 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup defeat at Hull just five days ago.

“It is a short turnaround, but that’s something we’ve done plenty of times before,” Powell said.

“It was pretty tough conditions [on Sunday], but they are fit guys and they will be highly motivated for this game.

“I don’t think we did ourselves too much justice at Hull and we’ve got a bit of work to do moving forward.

“I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a short turnaround because there’s no time to dwell on what’s happened.

“It is just about moving forward and there’s one thing for us to focus on now. It gives us an opportunity to really have a go at Super League for the remaining five games before the Super-8s.

“There’s some exciting opportunities for us going forward.”