Daryl Powell has urged Castleford’s fans to lower their expectations after his team produced a nervy display in their 13-12 victory over Widnes.
Last season’s runners-up got their Betfred Super League season up and running after suffering a heavy defeat at St Helens in round one but they were well short of their best against the spirited Vikings.
After winning the League Leaders’ Shield at a canter and racking up almost 1,000 points in 2017, Powell believes the two-week break for the World Club Challenge will give his team the chance to relax.
“We needed to win and in some ways that’s why we looked nervous at times,” he said.
“I’m really pleased with the two points and I’m not a big fan of the World Club Challenge stopping the season by a week but at the moment it’ll give us a bit of breathing space.
“I’m looking forward to this next two weeks. We need to chill out and relax a bit. It’ll come for us. We trained with a great attitude all week. Obviously it’s been a tough week for us because we’re not used to the standard that we put out there last week.
“The whole place is a bit nervous about us and that doesn’t help either. I’m not blaming anyone for that.
“But I think everybody expects us to be on this journey of winning every week and this is a different journey, a different season. We’re going to have to find something else and today we did. We’re not all singing, all dancing – the conditions are tough. We’re still trying to find our fluency.
“We’ve just got to chill out with that. It’s not going to be like it was last year.
“We just need to relax a little bit and I’d like to think our speccies (fans) will relax a little bit and give us a little bit of time in the knowledge that we’re working our backsides off to be as good as we can be.”
Asked if Widnes deserved a draw, head coach Denis Betts said: “I think a win would have been the right result. It was a tough game. Both sides wanted to play but couldn’t because of the heavy pitch. We competed with the side that played in the Grand Final and completely dominated the league last year.
“I want them to be disappointed. We came here for two points and we’re still only on two points after putting two massive efforts in.”
Betts added: “No matter how much effort we put in we’ve got to get some points.”