Liam Watts says Castleford Tigers' win over Wigan Warriors was "no shock"
They sent shock waves through Betfred Super League, but prop Liam Watts insists depleted Castleford Tigers were always confident of beating Wigan Warriors.
Wigan were without several first-choice players for the round two fixture at the Jungle last Friday, but were expected to be too strong for injury-hit Tigers.
Eight of Tigers’ first-choice side watched from the sidelines, including five who had featured in the round one win over Toronto Wolfpack.
Castleford gave a debut to 17-year-old forward Sam Hall, who was alongside another youngster Lewis Peachey on the bench, but were the better team in a morale-boosting 16-12 success and Watts stressed “We had belief in ourselves, everybody in the team.”
He said: “We knew we had every chance.
“We are not going to back down just because we lose a few people.
“We have had a bit of adversity the last two weeks, people dropping out before games, people who are fit getting suspended and concussions, but you’ve just got to deal with it.
“Obviously there were a couple of young lads in there and I thought they held their own. They really stepped up and gave themselves every chance for next week.
“We are in a good spot, we’ve got a few players coming back, which gives us a bit of breathing space, but I thought the lads really turned up and deserve to keep their spot.”
Tigers are away to Catalans Dragons on Saturday and Watts added: “We have got a really tough start and we’ve got a few tough games coming up.
“But it [last Friday] was all about going out and putting in a good performance.
“We knew defensively we had to be at our best and us senior players had to step up.
“We had a bit of a steady game against Toronto, but I thought we showed up against Wigan.”
Watts has played in both Tigers’ fixtures so far, but feels he is still getting up to speed after a disrupted pre-season.
“To be honest, I am pretty under-done,” he admitted. “I’ve had six weeks off. I came back late after going to Australia [with England’s nines squad] and I had a bit of a break. I played some big games last year and some big minutes.
“I got an extended rest, came back and had a massive week - a lot of miles with the three peaks walk and stuff.
“I came back, tore my hamstring and didn’t train for six weeks.
“The plan was never to play any of the warm-up games, which has probably left me a bit short, but I just wanted to be ready for round one.
“A 50 per cent fit me is good enough for me, just getting out on the pitch with the lads.
“Fitness will come in the next few weeks, but I was happy [with Friday], I played some decent minutes, had some good carries and good D [defence].”
Watts’ problem hamstring came through the two games in six days unscathed.
He said: “I picked up a bit of a dead leg, but I should be all right for the weekend.”