CASTLEFORD Tigers boss Ian Millward is backing his players to use the big setting of the Magic Weekend to restore pride after their 70-point blow-out at Hull Kingston Rovers on Sunday.
Millward (pictured) was angry at what he saw at Craven Park and let the players know as they sat through a video nasty of the game this week.
Cas travelled to Hull with a depleted team without all their senior half-backs, but the head coach refused to blame absences for the defeat and made it clear he expects much better against Wakefield Wildcats at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Millward told the Express: “I’m looking for a massive reaction from the players.
“It’s a big occasion, a big stadium, a good surface, two good teams with local rivalry and it should be good.
“Last week was a bit of a shock. Our defence was extremely poor, we were soft. It just went from bad to worse.
“We missed the players who were out. We always miss good players, but that was no excuse for the way the other players played.
“I’m extremely sorry for the fans. I notice the players have come out and put out a statement apologising for their actions and their performance. I didn’t know they were going to do that.
“We’ve gone through some video and we need now to move on. It’s a bad blip on our season, but the next game can rectify that and that’s the important part for us.
“We’re definitely looking to make amends this week. It’s a game we want to win, we want to get back up for that.
“We’ve beaten Wakefield already this season and we’d like to beat them again this week. First of all we’ve got to improve our defence and if we do that we’re definitely in the game.”
Millward will have a stronger squad at his disposal this week with key player Rangi Chase back from suspension, scrum-half Danny Orr fit again and new loan signing Rhys Williams in contention to come in on the wing.
He said: “Danny’s recovered from his back injury and will play while it’s good to have Rangi back after his suspension. It will be a big boost to have them both back.
“Paul Jackson is also available. He played in the 20s again last weekend and he’s definitely in contention.
“I’ve got to look at making some changes after last week, but with Rangi and Danny back that’s two already.”
“But Daryl Clark’s definitely out with a knee injury. It could be a long term injury. We’re waiting for the latest scans, but he could be out for the rest of the year.
“We’re hoping it doesn’t need an operation, but even if it doesn’t he’ll be in rehab for quite a long time.
“It’s a huge blow. He’s one of our focal points in attack and he’s a good young player.
“It’s disappointing for the team, but disappointing for Daryl too because we were trying to get him in that England Knights team.”
Millward is looking forward to his first taste of the Magic Weekend, but is not sure of the timing of it.
He added: “The Magic Weekend’s got some positives, but I think it’s at the wrong time of the year.
“It should be at the start of the year and should launch the season so fans can come and watch every team and see what they’re like.
“But it’s good to promote the game and we’re hoping to make it a good weekend for our supporters.”