HIGH FLIERS Castleford Tigers’ start to the season has been better than even coach Daryl Powell expected.
Tigers will aim to make it five wins from five tomorrow when they play host to Hull in First Utility Super League.
Cas are the competition’s surprise package so far and Powell admitted, after he saw the fixture list, he would not have predicted four straight victories to kick off the campaign.
“We have had some tough challenges,” Powell reflected. “We have played Catalan and Wigan at home and gone to Hull KR – where Cas hadn’t won in 20 years – and Bradford Bulls, so they all looked like tough games before the season began.
“We have probably exceeded expectations, but I did expect us to do well and I expect us to continue to do well. That’s the challenge, to keep it going and to maintain our run of performances. It is going to be difficult, because there are some really tough challenges along the way, but it is just about playing well and making sure we are focused every week.”
Powell said if Tigers continue to concentrate on performances, results will take care of themselves. We have to make sure we don’t get carried away and start thinking we can get the job done without performing well,” he stressed.
“We have got to get our performance right and if we do that, the signs are we will come close to winning games – which we are doing at the moment.
“We just need to keep doing what we are doing and keep getting better and improving each week, because teams work you out.
“They work out ways to nullify your threats and break down your defence, so you have to keep improving.” Tigers are on a high after the last-gasp conquering of Wigan six days ago, but Powell has warned his players that will count for nothing against a Hull team who are also hitting form.
“They are a good side and they will be feeling good about themselves,” he said. “We have to aim up again.
“Physically they are a big side, they are coming off a good win against Bradford and they will feel they can knock us off.
“That is the challenge for us. They will be looking forward to it and they’ll see it as an opportunity. They have got good players and outstanding players in some areas and they are going to be a real test for us.”
Jake Webster has been named in Tigers’ initial 19-man squad for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury away to his old club Hull KR on March 22 last year. Webster proved his fitness by playing for York City Knights on dual-registration in their Kingstone Press Championship One win at Hunslet Hawks last Sunday.
Jamie Ellis could make his first appearance of the season and Jordan Tansey has recovered from injury and is set to replace Luke Dorn.
Richard Owen will come in for Kirk Dixon, who suffered a broken jaw against Wigan six days ago and Scott Wheldon has also joined the casualty list, but Dan Fleming is back in contention. Hull have lost winger Tom Lineham, who suffered a broken leg against Bradford Bulls last week.
Iafeta Palea’aesina also drops out from that team, with Joe Arundel, Garreth Carvell, Ben Crooks and Liam Colbon vying for a call-up.
Castleford Tigers from: Tansey, Owen, Channing, Shenton, Carney, Sneyd, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Millington, Massey, Clark, Mariano, Owen, Fleming, Webster, J Ellis.
Hull FC from: Shaul, Colbon, Whiting, Yeaman, Talanoa, Heremaia, Horne, Paea, Houghton, Bowden, G Ellis, Tuson, Westerman, Thompson, Watts, Rankin, Carvell, Arundell, Crooks.
Referee: Tim Roby (Preston).
Kick-off: Sunday, 3.30pm.