TOMORROW AFTERNOON is an ideal opportunity for Castleford Tigers to click into gear, coach Daryl Powell says.
Visitors Hull were Tigers’ bogey side last season – beating them three times in four meetings – but the odds are in Castleford’s favour.
Hull returned this week from a two-game tour to Australia and, having played in Sydney seven days ago, they are likely to still be feeling the effects of the long journey and time difference.
Tigers, by contrast, have not played for 13 days and that has given them time to work on their below-par start to the campaign.
“It’s a big game,” Powell said of the Betfred Super League round three clash.
“Hull are a good side and it will be really competitive.
“We can’t take anything for granted; the fact they have been in Australia matters little.
“It’s about how we perform and it’s a key game for us.
“We’re looking to improve on what we’ve delivered so far and we see this game as a good opportunity.”
Hull were beaten 24-10 by Wigan in a Super League game in Wollongong two weeks ago, but put up a strong fight in a 24-18 defeat to St George-Illawarra Dragons in last Saturday’s exhibition match.
Powell added: “I thought they were excellent last week, but it is about us and we need to be as good as we can be.
“We have got to focus on ourselves and be outstanding. We need to go out and give Hull our best. We haven’t done that yet this year, but we are just one game away from it.”
Tigers are looking to build on their 13-12 round two win over Widnes Vikings, which followed an opening 46-6 drubbing at St Helens.
Compared to last year’s form, it has been a sluggish start, but Powell saw some positive signs two weeks ago.
“We didn’t play great against Saints and people are judging us on that performance,” he said.
“I thought we did some really good things against Widnes and we were just a little bit off a few times from scoring points.
“I have seen worse starts and I’ve seen better ones.
“We’ve played two games and one of those was away to Saints, which was always going to be tough.
“We just need to do ourselves justice this week, keep working hard and get to our best.
“We have had a good week’s preparation and we are looking forward to it.”
Joe Wardle has recovered from a hamstring injury and is set to make his Tigers debut.
Greg Eden could return from a similar problem and James Green is also in contention, with Matt Cook dropping out from the team which beat Widnes.
Hull are without Danny Houghton (torn calf) and Scott Taylor (appendix), but Mark Minichiello is poised to return from an ankle injury.
Castleford Tigers: from Eden, Ellis, Foster, Gale, Green, Hitchcox, Holmes, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minkin, Moors, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Wardle, Webster.
Hull: from Shaul, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa, Kelly, Sneyd, Watts, Hadley, Paea, Minichiello, Manu, Bowden, Connor, Green, Matongo, Abdul, Fash, Washbrook.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).
Kick-off: Tomorrow 3.15pm.