BOSS DARYL Powell saluted a season’s-best defensive effort after Castleford Tigers crushed Ladbrokes Challenge Cup winners Catalans Dragons 36-4 in a scrappy game at the Jungle.
The victory lifted Tigers above Warrington Wolves into third in the Betfred Super-8s table and they are eight points clear of fifth-placed Huddersfield Giants with four games remaining before the semi-finals.
Powell admitted Tigers weren’t at their best on attack, but was happy to concede only one try.
“With the ball we were a bit untidy, we made a few too many errors,” he said.
“There wasn’t a great flow to the game, it was too fragmented to enjoy it that much, but we needed to win the game and a massive positive for us was the way we defended.
“That is as good as we have defended this year.
“We were aggressive and we really got after them.
“I was just pleased to win.
“We have got fresh players coming back in who haven’t played for a while and combinations will have to be built gradually.
“It is a great win and it puts us in a fantastic position.
“It will be pretty tough to get us out of the four now and we’ve got four games left to build momentum.
“We are going to be one game away from a Grand Final which is awesome based on what’s happened to us this year.”
Luke Gale, who made his 100th appearance for Tigers, and Ben Roberts both returned to the side after being on the casualty list since April.
Gale kicked six goals from seven attempts and was involved in the build-up to four of Castleford’s six tries and Roberts showed some good touches off the bench.
“They both fitted in seamlessly,” Powell said.
“Galey has trained like he hasn’t been away.
“Benny did way more minutes than I expected.
“He played in the centre for a large chunk and then I bobbed him in the middle just to get some time into his legs and his lungs.
“It is great to have them both back. Competition for places is going to be pretty tough until the end of the season.
“If we can keep people fit and healthy it is going to be a tough team to pick.”