DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED boss Daryl Powell admitted his Castleford Tigers team were second-best against Leeds Rhinos yesterday.
An 11,235 capacity crowd at the Jungle saw Rhinos strengthen their hold on top spot in First Utility Super League with a 26-12 victory.
It was Tigers’ second home defeat of the campaign – both in West Yorkshire derbies – and they have dropped into the bottom-four ahead of Monday’s trip to Warrington Wolves.
Powell has yet to guide Tigers to victory against his former club and he admitted: “We made a few errors early on in the first half and sometimes they get you down the track.
“I don’t think we ever really got our game together. I thought Leeds were the better side consistently. I have spoken to the boys – we are not consistent enough in what we do, whether it’s from ruck to ruck or game to game.
“Leeds were excellent, I thought they played well and put us under pressure. They made big metres on us and were just the better side I thought, over most of the 80 minutes. I thought we had some periods where we got a little bit on them, but their scramble defence shut us down. It was disappointing.”
Powell added: “We didn’t have any field position at all, whether that was [due to] our inability to get penalties for whatever reason or Leeds’ good ball control.
“They hardly put any ball down there at all. There’s some positives in there, obviously, we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, but I just don’t think it was good enough.
“I didn’t think our game was ever at our fluent best. We’ve been talking about that for a while, so we’ve got a bit of work to do for Monday.”
One of those positives was Tigers’ goal line defence. Another was the form of rampaging prop Andy Lynch.
“He was great,” Powell reflected. “He was superb, worked really hard and he is one of our consistent players, one who every single week is up at the same standard and he plays massive minutes as well.”
Jake Webster is a doubt for Monday after taking a knock to the head, but Frankie Mariano could make his first appearance of the campaign, following surgery on a hand injury.
“Easter is always pretty tough, no doubt about that,” Powell said. “But it is what it is – you’ve got to deal with it, so get on with it.
“We’re not complaining, the boys will be fine. They’ve got a couple of days.
“Warrington will be looking to bounce back, they will see it as a great opportunity and it’s away from home, so it’s a tough challenge for us.
“We will get ourselves ready, dust ourselves down and get on with it.”
The turnstiles were closed around 15 minutes before kick-off yesterday and some fans had to be turned away.
Powell reflected: “The fans have been great all season. I’m just disappointed we couldn’t give them more to get behind today.”
Meanwhile, Rhinos’ Cameron Smith and Tigers’ Jacques O’Neill were among England Youth’s try scorers in a 16-6 win over France under-16s at Belle Vue, Wakefield, yesterday.
The England team also included Leeds’ Mikolaj Oledzki and Dyson Nicholson and Wakefield duo Will Dagger and Will Oakes.