It’s Castleford first ... before we even think about St Helens in the Cup – Luke Gale

I’LL BE honest, St Helens away isn’t the game I’d have chosen to begin our defence of the Challenge Cup, but you get what you are given and, like the cliche says, if you’re going to win the trophy you have to beat the best teams.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 5:19 pm
CLINCHER: Jack Broadbent scoring the winning try for Leeds Rhinos against Wakefield Trinity. Picture: Steve Riding.

We did that against Wigan in the semi-final last year and it’s a great tie for the competition. Saints haven’t won it for a while so they will be fired up, but last year was a strange one for us, with the final being behind closed doors. We really want to get back to Wembley and win the Cup with our fans and families there to see it.

This is another cliche, but it is one game at a time and we have got Cas first before we think about Saints. I was at Headingley on Sunday for the Super League Show so I got a close look at Cas and I thought they were very good.

Warrington have got some great players, but Cas kept them quiet for the most part and did a good job of coping when Gaz O’Brien went off in the first half.

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OUTSTANDING: Castleford Tigers head coach, Daryl Powell. Picture: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia.

My mate, Paul McShane, slotted into the halves and showed what a good player he can be, Niall Evalds went well and Jake Trueman looks like he is ready for a big year.

We are looking forward to it, it’s the sort of game you play rugby to be involved in and we’re going into it with a bit of momentum after beating Wakey.

I’ve been on both sides of the fence and – like when I was at Cas – it’s one of the first games I look for on the fixture list. I’ve only been on the losing side once in a Leeds-Cas game and that was the one I most wanted to win, but it’s one of those match ups when anything can happen.

I wasn’t surprised when Daryl Powell announced this will be his final season at Cas.

WINGING IN: Wakefield Trinity winger, Tom Johnston, scoring the opening try against Leeds Rhinos last weekend. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

Everyone has to move on at some stage. I was in a similar situation a couple of years ago and I think the timing is right for him.

He has been outstanding, he’s completely transformed them and it’ll be big shoes to fill at the Jungle next year.

Whichever club he ends up at will be getting a class act and I wish Daryl all the best for the future.

Looking back on our game against Wakey, I think we showed good signs at times, but were scratchy overall and I thought I was pretty poor.

But, in round one, the big thing is to get the ‘W’ and we did that. It wasn’t the prettiest performance, but it was a much better start than last year!

I thought we started the game really well, we had all the possession, we were playing some good footy and then Tom Johnstone got a breakaway try and that turned the tables.

In the blink of an eye we were 16-4 down and backs against the wall, but we came back, there were some really good glimpses and we scored some lovely tries.

I got through unscathed and was glad to get 80 minutes under my belt after just two weeks of training in pre-season.

There’s lots of improvements in us and a lot to work on, but Jack Broadbent was a big positive.

He was up against Bill Tupou, who is an absolute handful, and it was the first time Jack had played with an experienced team, but I thought he was great. The interception late on was massive – they had a man over and if Jack hadn’t taken the ball it would have been a walk-in. Fair play to Wakefield, they threw the ball about really well and, if they play like that, I think they will trouble a lot of teams.

Saturday was a big day for me because White Rose Bloodstock, which I am a partner in, had our first foal, a colt whose sire is Cotai Glory.

It’s like being a new dad again! We’ve got a runner at Beverley early next month, which is exciting and I’ll tell you about that another time.

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