BOTH COACHES cautioned against reading anything into Castleford Tigers’ 16-4 pre-season win over Leeds Rhinos.
The game was played in driving rain and sleet on a heavy pitch and – after Tigers went 12-0 ahead early on – there was very little opportunity for flair or adventurous rugby.
Leeds boss Brian McDermott said: “It was a decent one in terms of having to make tackles, [because] in training we’re always being cautious.
“So there were some benefits to playing, but other than that it was just a tough day all round – the weather just killed it.
“If it was to fall on the side of a positive performance or a negative performance, I think we were in the middle, leaning towards negative.
“We didn’t try enough with the ball or do enough with the ball, but – in the main – defensively good.”
Rhinos fielded 20 players, including all three off-season signings.
“Richie Myler was okay, as was Brad Dwyer,” McDermott said.
“I thought Nathaniel Peteru came on and looked pretty dynamic in wet conditions.”
Leeds were without Brett Ferres, Keith Galloway and Stevie Ward through injury.
Ferres and Galloway will not be available for the Betfred Super League opener at Warrington Wolves on February 1 and McDermott said: “If I was to pick a [strongest] 17 or 13, Stevie would be in it.
“We’re just waiting on him and whether he’s going to be ready for round one, I’m not sure.”
Meanwhile, Castleford coach Daryl Powell was more upbeat. He said: “It was a tough game.
“I thought we started really well, that’s probably the most repeat sets we’ve ever got from our kicking game so there’s some positives in there.
“I thought generally we defended well, our tryline defence was pretty solid – they got one try on a last tackle offload and a kick.
“But it’s difficult to gauge where you’re at – there was a lot of errors and it became really scrappy.
“Obviously the surface was difficult to play rugby league on, but we’ll get a lot from it. In terms of a winning mentality, I thought we were really good.”
Powell was pleased with individual contributions from James Green, Nathan Massey and Joe Wardle.