CASTLEFORD TIGERS boss Daryl Powell has described Betfred Super League’s stop-start opening as “ridiculous” – but insists it won’t have a bearing on his side’s chances at Warrington Wolves tonight.
Tigers crushed Leigh Centurions 44-16 in round one 14 days ago, but then had no game last weekend because of the World Club Series, which saw Warrington outclass Australian visitors Brisbane Broncos 27-18.
“It has been a long time between matches for us,” Powell said. “It’s ridiculous that you play one game then have another one off, but it is what it is.
“There’s not a lot you can do about it; it’s part of the calendar. We just have to get on with it and we’re ready to go. We’ve trained really well and we’ll just need to be outstanding – there’s no other way of looking at it.
“If we’re outstanding we give ourselves a chance of coming out on top and we’ve done pretty well against Warrington most times in the recent past.
“But we had a really tough gig there early on last season and got absolutely belted so we know what it’s like to go there and be on the wrong side of something if you’re not where you need to be performance-wise.”
Wolves put a huge effort into last week’s game, but Powell insisted: “I don’t think it’s ever a good time to play Warrington.
“If they play like they did last week it will be a real challenge for us, but we’ve been talking and thinking about ourselves as a top-four club for a fair while now and if you are going do that these are the challenges you’ve got to face up to. If they come up with what they did last week it’s going to be a fair challenge for our defence. They would challenge any team playing that way.
“They were playing against a high-quality team in Brisbane and were way too good for them I thought, but we’ve talked about our defence improving significantly and this will be a challenge for us.”
Tigers will be without hooker Paul McShane, who is serving a one-game ban for a dangerous throw on Leigh’s Gareth Hock.
Powell said: “It was an awkward tackle and we didn’t fight it. I didn’t think there was any way we could have got him off a one-game suspension.”
Youngster Luke Million comes into contention along with Adam Milner and Joel Monaghan, who were unused members of the initial 19-man squad in round one.
Wolves coach Tony Smith will select from the 17 players on duty last Saturday, plus Matty Blythe and Dom Crosby.
Warrington Wolves: from Atkins, Blythe, Brown, Clark, Cooper, Crosby, Dwyer, Evans, Gidley, Hughes, Lineham, Livett, Patton, Philbin, Russell, Savelio, Sims, Westerman, Westwood.
Castleford Tigers: from Chase, Cook, Eden, Gale, Hardaker, Lynch, Massey, McMeeken, Millington, Million, Milner, Minikin, Monaghan, Moors, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Springer, Webster.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.