DEFENSIVE DEFIANCE will send Castleford Tigers into Thursday’s derby at Leeds Rhinos in good heart, winger Ashley Gibson says.
Tigers held off a strong Hull KR fightback to win 30-22 at Craven Park last Friday and Gibson reckons confidence in the camp is high.
“We started off really well, like we did the week before, but we let them get back in the game,” he said. “It’s a tough place to go, Hull KR, and the crowd really got behind them. They got on a bit of a roll, but the pleasing thing was our defence. That was really good, especially making them come out of their own half. We were all over them.”
After three league and cup games without a victory, Tigers have won their last two and are back in the hunt for a top-four place when First Utility Super League splits after 23 rounds.
“That’s not really been spoken about,” Gibson said. “But if we just perform well every week I am sure we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
Tigers are doing it tough, with a host of key players missing due to injury.
Frankie Mariano is due to undergo a knee reconstruction on Thursday and Luke Dorn, Justin Carney, Matt Cook, Ryan Bailey and Scott Moore were all unavailable for the trip to Craven Park.
“We have got quite a few players missing, if you look at our squad, but we’re not making a big deal about it,” Gibson stressed. “We’re just getting on with it. We’ve got a good squad and everyone who comes in does a job for us. That’s the pleasing thing.”
Thursday’s game will be a big test of whether Tigers have got over the inconsistency which dogged them in the first half of the season.
“It’s always a good game against Leeds and a big game,” said Gibson, who began his career at Rhinos. “I enjoy it, especially with it being my home town club. It is a big derby for us now, with Bradford being out of Super League.”
On a personal level, Gibson will be looking to impress against his old side. He has been a quiet achiever for Tigers this year, playing in 12 of their 18 games so far. He made only seven appearances in his first season at the club and said: “I’m enjoying it, it’s a lot better than last year, when I was sat on the sidelines most of the time.
“I am getting a bit more confidence. I only played a handful of games last year and it’s frustrating training every week and then not playing. All you want to do is be out there.
“The more game time you get, the more comfortable you feel and confidence grows. I am a confidence player and that seems to be growing at the minute.”