Head coach Daryl Powell believes Castleford Tigers’ strength in depth is paying dividends this season as the side holds down a top eight spot in Super League despite a seemingly lengthening injury list.
There has been no public whingeing about the unfairness of having to play on without a number of key players from the Tigers as they have got on with the job in recent weeks, winning their last two games despite being without seven injured first teamers at Salford and having 10 absent against Catalans.
In the circumstances Powell was delighted with the 36-28 victory over a Catalans team tipped by many to be right up there at the top of Super League come September.
He said: “It was a really good win.
“Catalans are a big side with a lot of quality players and they came at us at the start. For us to stop from them from scoring in that period and then build a lead and finish the game off when you see the team we had out there was a really good effort.
“Obviously we had a few guys missing and had some young guys in there.
“With losing two players late on as well we were pretty depleted.
“With James Clare playing at York we had three wingers missing. Obviously Justin Carney’s out for a while and we lost Denny Solomona late so you would say that all our first choice wingers were missing from the game. But the guys responded superbly and everybody worked hard for each other.
“That was the key, just the effort and determination from the players.
“It showed the value again of having a good squad.
“We’ve won seven of our 10 games after the start we had and it’s been a huge, huge effort from everybody concerned.”
Powell was pleased with the way the Tigers’ attacking game was beginning to shape up after a few difficulties in this area earlier in the season.
He added: “After they had found a way to get back in the game we conceded a couple of soft ones before and after half-time, which made life difficult for us and got them back in the game. But we did some really good things and to finish it off building a little bit of pressure when we got in good field positions the halves’ kicking game was good.
“Some of our attacking game is really starting to improve and we’re threatening teams consistently now.
“Both half-backs were really good I thought. Luke Gale has been playing consistently well, but Liam Finn came back into the side and did a good job. His kicking game was good, he probed well and he created some opportunities on the left side.
“They can both be happy with the way they went about their business. I thought they caused Catalans a hell of a lot of trouble.”