Powell Q&A: Tigers at the double
Posted: Tuesday 8th September 2020 - 2:03 PM
Head coach Daryl Powell looks ahead to a busy week for Castleford Tigers.
Powell’s men are in action twice this week as they take on Warrington Wolves in the Betfred Super League on Thursday evening (live on Sky Sports at 8.15pm) before a short turnaround to a knock-out Coral Challenge Cup tie against Hull FC on Sunday afternoon (3pm, BBC1).
Daryl, you’ve got two games in four days. How do you prepare for this week?
We’ve just got to focus on this first game and not really worry about the second, to be honest.
As a coaching staff we’ve looked at the Hull match and done what we need to do to prepare for that, but as a player they just need to out all their concentration on Warrington.
If you look at the top four and where we are, this game is key. We can’t worry about anything else, we’ve got to get after this game and build some consistency because we’ve not quite done that yet (since the restart), either within games or from game to game.
You can’t play two games at once so we’ll put a real focus on this Warrington game before we think about anything else.
What are you expecting from the Wolves on Thursday night?
They’ve got a few players missing but we’ve played against them in the past with 10 or 11 players missing and won the game, so that should tell us not to take anything for granted.
They’re still a really good team that did a job on Hull last week. They’ll come with a high quality game, they’ll play with plenty of enthusiasm and they’ve got some experienced players in there. Austin is playing well, Clark is playing well and they’ve got some strong outside backs who are really experienced and still playing well.
We know what we’ll get from them, Murdoch-Masila will be back on their right edge and he’s a big physical challenge, but we’ve got to go out there, play our own game and take the game by the scruff of the neck.
How big of a challenge is it for the players who will back up and feature in both games?
It’s always difficult to do that but I think we’ve got the players with the right mindset to do it. You come out of the first game and you only have a light team run to prepare for the next one but it’s the same for both teams.
We’ve got the right mentality at the moment. I see a really, hungry and happy group of players. Watching them in training, they’ve got a real focus about them but they’re having a bit of fun in training as well.
We’ve not got to go out there and do ourselves justice. Our leaders need to do what they did last week and play well.
Will you take any confidence from last Thursday’s comeback win against Salford into this week?
We had the momentum going the wrong way against us last week. Going 18-0 down pretty early in the game was a fair smack in the chops and we had to work hard to get ourselves back into it. We did that well and whilst it hasn’t given us any momentum for this week, because one win doesn’t do that, it has given us a foundation to build from.
We’re within touching distance of the top-four. If we win this game, we go within two points of Warrington which is why this game is so important for us.
This is the fourth match out of five since the restart against a team currently in the Super League top-four. Do you have a point to prove?
I thought pre-lockdown that we looked like a top-four team. Post-lockdown, we’ve been in and out of that and we haven’t got any consistency going.
We’ve changed our half backs every week which hasn’t helped and we’ve had two leads that we’ve let slip and then that big comeback against Salford, so it’s been a very up and down journey.
I do think this is an opportunity for us against Warrington given they’re four points ahead of us on the ladder. People often say you don’t look at the league table but with a shortened season we need to see some consistency from us and this is a chance to build a platform and put some pressure on the top-four.
After this week, we’ll have played all our games against the current top-four but there’s another eight matches this season where they still have to play each other. We’ve got an opportunity to make sure we’re playing as well as we can and establish a foothold in and around that top-four and we’ve got a great chance of doing well from that position.
The 21-man squad is out for Thursday’s game but there’s no Jake Trueman. What’s the latest with his injury?
Truey is still struggling with his back and he’s not improving the way we’d like him to. We’ve taken the early decision to keep him out for Thursday and that’s all it is at this stage.
We’d hope to have him back for Sunday’s game but at the moment he’s very sore and finding it difficult, so I’m not banking on it. It would be a bonus if he did come through but we probably won’t know until Saturday morning.
He’s an important player for us but we’ve got to do without him. I thought Pete was great there last week, he put his foot down and he’s a dangerous runner. He’s not a ball-playing half back which probably impacts on some of the things we want to do with the ball, but nevertheless he’s a very good player in that position and he’ll continue there.
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