Powell previews Catalans away
Posted: Friday 14th February 2020 - 2:00 PM
Head Coach Daryl Powell looks ahead to Castleford’s third round fixture against Catalans Dragons.
Two wins from the opening two matches of the Betfred Super League season means that the Tigers head to the South of France full of confidence.
The squad was down on numbers due to injuries or suspensions last week, meaning young players had to rise to the challenge against Wigan Warriors, and they did so wonderfully with a 16-12 victory at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, a score line which didn’t truly reflect how in control Cas were throughout the game.
Powell has returning faces to choose from this week with players coming back into the fold following concussion assessments in Round One, plus the Tigers’ #12 Mike McMeeken is named in the squad for the first time in 2020.
“We get a few boys back this week, we had a few head knocks so Tyla Hepi and George Griffin come back in, McMeeken is fit and has trained well this week. We’ve been running around with storms facing us which has been interesting. Adam Milner won’t be fit this week he’s got a little something he picked up in training and will probably miss the next two games but we’re looking strong.”
More players will be back in the next few weeks, too, and it will help feed into the competitive environment that Powell wants within his squad.
“Sosaia Feki and Jesse Sene-Lefao are a couple of weeks away whilst Pete Mata’utia will be back for Friday’s game following a suspension. We’ve got a real strength in depth and from my perspective we’ve got players to come in to make a real competitive environment and that brings the best out of players, that’s something we’ve worked hard on,” he said.
“Having a few injuries early on has given the opportunity to a few young players to show that they can handle it. Jacques O’Neill has got more game time, Tyla Hepi has come in and shown he’s going to be a really good player for us and young Sam Hall last week did a great job in the period he was on the field, for a young buck I thought he did really well.
“I’m really pleased with the squad that we’ve got because it’s a tough old season, it runs on for a long time and we ask a lot of players, you need some luck and you need a good squad and I think we’ve got that this year.”
Fans will keep an eye on where Cheyse Blair will feature for Cas in the coming weeks after impressive performances at centre last week and in the second row in the season opener. Following on from pre-season Blair looks set to have a big season in the Black and Amber colours and is earning praise from the Head Coach.
“Cheyse is over 100 kilos, he runs unbelievably good lines at 100 miles per hour and he can be a strong back row option for us. We’ve got Mike McMeeken, Oli Holmes, Jesse Sene-Lefao and Alex Foster to come back as back row options so then you start looking and go; ‘We’re going to be alright if we can stay healthy and I can rotate the team’. I think we’ll be a real handful.”
Catalans Dragons have only played one match so far in the season due to Storm Ciara causing a postponement against Wakefield Trinity this past Sunday. Add into the mix the Dragons debut of the controversial player Israel Folau and Castleford haven’t had a lot to base their preparations on.
“They’re big, they offload the ball and people like Kasiano and Bousquet are huge men so they cause physical difficulty. They’ve got a new half-back with Maloney and I think Israel Folau will play so there’s a little bit of an unknown there, so we need to focus on ourselves and play as well as we can and do what we know we can do.
“Our plan is not going to change too much because we know the way we’re going to play and we’ve just got to deliver it, been a bit awkward in training with the weather but the boys look good and we’re going into it with some confidence.
“We’ve spoke about them moving Langi to the other side potentially and playing Folau right-centre, but both our edges are pretty smart either way. On the left we’ve got Shenny who’s pretty clever and I think it’ll be interesting to see what we do on that edge to put them under pressure. The game is always a challenge going over to Catalans and given how we haven’t been able to have too much of a look at them I think it’s going to be an interesting one for us.”
Keep up to date with the score of the match on Castleford Tigers’ social media channels, catch the highlights of the game on Saturday night on Tigers TV and watch the full match back from Monday morning.
Join us at The Jungle for our #BraggingRights match against local rivals Wakefield Trinity, tickets are on sale online HERE
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