Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell is determined to make sure Sunday’s game against Salford Red Devils does not become all about Justin Carney’s return.
The Australian winger is set for his first return to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle after leaving the Tigers for a year-long loan move to Salford following a club suspension at Castleford over allegations concerning his private life.
Carney, who scored 63 tries in 62 games for Castleford, looks set for a hot reception from fans that formerly idolised him, but head coach Powell is refusing to talk about the winger in the build-up to Sunday’s match, preferring to concentrate on what his team needs to do to beat a Salford side that has started the season strongly.
He told the Express: “I haven’t really got any comment about Justin Carney’s return. I’m not going to speak about that this week, we’ve just got a job to do, concentrate on ourselves and get on with it.
“It will be a tough game. If you look at Salford so far they’ve been really difficult to play against.
“Their attacking game is good. Dobson is really playing well on the left and they’ve got Robert Lui on the right, who looks a handful at the moment.
“They look a good side. They’ve got Murdoch-Masila who looks really sharp and aggressive on the right hand side.
“It will be a challenge for us, no question.”
Powell believes his side will have learned from what happened in last week’s narrow defeat at St Helens when they were forced to do a huge amount of defending with their opponents having far more possession.
He said: “We learned some lessons and we’ll take them into the game with Salford.
“We hung in there and gave ourselves a bit of a glimmer of hope at the end, but it wasn’t quite to be.
“We were pretty resilient. We were under a massive amount of pressure, they had seven repeat sets, which is significant to defend.
“We had to dig deep so I could say I was pleased with the way we did that, but I was still disappointed at the manner that we conceded some of the tries.
“Individually we made too many errors, which put too much pressure on our middle unit. They had to do too much work and that’s always going to reap some rewards for the opposition later in the game, which it did.
“They squeezed us a little bit and there was a period in the second half at 16-all when they had a big block of possession that got them the game really.
“It was disappointing, but I think we’ve learned some more things about ourselves and some things we can improve. We certainly need to apply them on Sunday when it will be a tough game against a Salford side going well.”