Big Match Verdict: Coach Powell proud of Castleford Tigers’ ‘awesome’ performance

Daryl Powell
Daryl Powell
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PROUD BOSS Daryl Powell described Castleford Tigers’ 16-12 against-the-odds win over St Helens as one of the best he has been involved in.

Powell rested four key players, was without two more through injury and lost another pair during the game to head knocks, but saw his side hit back from 12-4 down at the break.

Castleford Tigers' 
Mike McMeeken celebrates his try against St Helens with Ben Roberts. PIC: Steve Riding

Castleford Tigers' Mike McMeeken celebrates his try against St Helens with Ben Roberts. PIC: Steve Riding

It was Tigers’ third game in 10 days and their opponents had not played for 11. The victory, coupled with Salford Red Devils’ home defeat by Wakefield Trinity, left Tigers four points clear at the top of Betfred Super League.

“It is one of the biggest wins I’ve been involved in,” Powell said afterwards. The opposition have had a significant rest period and had nearly a full-strength team. We played about with our team a bit to try and keep players fresh and to come out with that kind of performance, I thought it was awesome. We had to dig in right at the end and the amount of scramble tackles to keep them out shows the character we’ve got and what we’ve become as a club. We’ve got genuine depth and genuine belief that we’ve got something special here.”

Paul McShane celebrated his call into the England elite performance squad with a towering 80-minute effort.

“I thought he was unbelievable,” Powell said of the hooker. Nathan Massey put in a special performance – he was out there the whole game, did a mountain of work and was very effective in what he did.

“He and McShane were real stand-outs, but you could talk about anyone. Alex Foster did a really good job in the back-row and it was an outstanding effort from a group of blokes who weren’t prepared to come second.”

Cas’ spirit was summed up by Jy Hitchcox, who came off the bench for his first Tigers appearance of the season.

Powell said: “He has come back from a knee issue that looked like it might finish his career so it has been great to see him get back on the field.

“He has been playing with Batley and he was great today – not just his defence, but his carrying gave us a bit of spark in the middle of the field.”

Forwards Junior Moors and Jesse Sene-Lefao both finished the game on the sidelines after suffering head knocks, but are expected to be available for Sunday’s visit of Warrington.

Disgraced England star Zak Hardaker in action for Castleford Tigers. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

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