Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell believes his team will have to learn some vital lessons from last Sunday’s game against Wakefield Wildcats after they struggled to put their local derby to bed following a bright opening when they built a big first half lead.
After running in four tries to be 22-0 up just past the half-hour mark the Tigers got dragged into a bruising battle in the second half and were forced to desperately defend their line in the closing stages to see out a 26-22 victory.
Powell said that ultimately the Tigers were “way off” their usual performance and they would have to play much better if they were to progress far in the Super League play-offs to come.
He said: “We were certainly a little bit up and down. We started really well and then just slipped away.
“In the second half we looked a little bit tired and made a lot of errors in the tackle count. As a result Wakefield got a sniff and very nearly picked us off.
“The intensity level went up a fair bit in the second half. They came after us and their big men played really well, Ali Lauitiiti and Taulima Tautai with their offloads and Tim Smith became more prominent.
“I just thought we got a little bit heated. We just needed to calm down.
“We made eight errors in the second half, which is way too many.
“Thankfully we won the game, but apart from the first 30 minutes it was not one of our better performances.”
Powell was pleased, however, with the way his players defended and kept Wakefield out in the closing stages after they had got to within four points.
He added: “It’s true we found a way to win. At 22-0 up we had certainly given ourselves a good platform, but after they came back we showed some good character to scramble at the end of the game when they looked like they were going to score again.
“I was delighted to get the win and move onto the last game of the regular season.
“It was pleasing to win the game, but frustrating to watch in the second half with the amount of errors that we made. But ultimately it’s about us moving on now and focusing on what’s in front of us and not getting bogged down by what wasn’t one of our best performances.
“We will learn some lessons from it.
“At this time of year it’s about winning games to be able to progress so from that perspective we did the job and we’ve won games consistently this year to have given ourselves a chance right at the back end of the year when all the chips are down.
“We’ve done fantastically well to be where we are.”