TOMORROW’S TRIP to Warrington Wolves is an opportunity for Castleford Tigers to lay down a marker, star back Ben Roberts says.
Tigers began their Betfred Super League campaign with an impressive 44-16 win over promoted Leigh Centurions two weeks ago.
But Warrington were league leaders and Super League’s top points scorers in 2016 and are on a high after a World Club Series win over Brisbane Broncos last Saturday.
Tigers had the second-best attack last year, but only Wakefield Trinity conceded more points and Roberts said tomorrow will show how much they have improved.
“It is a good opportunity for us to make a good statement,” said the Samoan, who missed much of last season due to injury.
“In the past we’ve probably been looked at as a team that can only attack, but in the pre-season just gone our main focus has been defence.
“We know it is going to be tough, but the boys have done all the hard work in pre-season and are full of confidence in our defence now and our structure.
“I think this will be a good weekend for us to show that.”
Roberts said Tigers are confident they can build on the win over Leigh and go on to finish higher than last year’s fifth.
“Daryl [Powell] and the coaching staff are continuously building on the squad and we have improved every year,” he said.
“With the squad we’ve got this year I can’t see why we can’t take it one step further.
“We have high standards, but the good thing about it is we know we have got a lot more to give.
“That’s one thing Powelly is always getting us to do, work on our games and keep improving.
“I think as long as we are improving week to week we are in good stead.”
After having no game last week, Roberts said Tigers are itching to get back on the field.
“I think the boys are pretty excited,” he stated.
“We’ve had a weekend off when we would probably have preferred to be playing and we are looking forward to it.
“The boys are fresh and ready to go.
“Obviously it is going to be a big task at hand this week with Warrington having a great win and being full of confidence, but for us it’s just a matter of turning up every week and reaching our standards, if not getting better.
“As long as we are improving every week I think we are in good stead.”
After being out of competitive action since May, a free weekend was the last thing Roberts wanted.
“One thing I have learned is never to take that winning feeling for granted,” he insisted.
“That’s the one thing I missed, having a good win with the boys and being able to celebrate that win.
“That’s a feeling I am definitely not going to take for granted.
“I am feeling good at the moment, just getting ready to get out there.
“I’ve had a long enough break so I just want to play.”