While overall he did not believe his side did themselves justice against Leeds Rhinos in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell has praised several of the players for their efforts ahead of their return to training today.
He said: “Lee Jewitt was probably our best player and Craig Huby played with a fair bit of courage, doing what he did.
“Ollie Holmes played pretty well and he was really consistent. Michael Shenton when he got opportunities looked good, but we just didn’t get him enough opportunities.
“Leeds shackled Clarky pretty well. They won the rucks and that makes his job hard.
“Everybody worked hard, that’s something we do all the time, but if you are talking about players who reached close to their potential then we didn’t have enough.
“We needed most of our players right on the button, but we just didn’t have that.
“Our right edge had a lot of work to do and didn’t really do the job well enough. They punched holes in us down our right and all the tries they scored were soft tries – I don’t think we made them work hard enough for the points they got.”
Powell said that it was a great experience for everyone to go to Wembley, but enjoying the day was always going to be difficult unless they could have come away with a win.
He added: “It’s a great stadium and the occasion itself is fantastic, but it’s a place for winners.
“When you are coaching and playing it’s very difficult to enjoy the whole thing when you’ve got a job to do.
“And if you don’t quite get the job done it’s always one of the worst places to be.
“But we are pleased that we have been a part of it and feel that we can learn quite a lot from the day itself and the way we went about their business.
“It was a bit of a mix of Leeds being good and us not so. I don’t think we played any near to our potential and some of that may have been dictated by the way that Leeds played.
“We hung about there for a large period of the game, but we never really played the game we wanted to play, which I felt would have given us a chance to be really close to them.
“I need to get inside the players’ heads and find out how they felt rolling into the game because I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t turn up and play the game we wanted to play.
“Obviously experience is important, but I just felt we didn’t do ourselves justice in any way and we needed pretty much all our players on the button on the day to get the job done. We just didn’t have that unfortunately.
“We were in it, but we just didn’t play when we needed to.
“We got ourselves back to 16-10 and then we had some opportunities to express ourselves and find the space in the areas I thought were going to be there.
“The space was there, but we just forgot to play. We tightened up and too many of our boys didn’t do themselves justice. As a result we couldn’t find a way to unlock Leeds’ defence.
“Ultimately they played a smart game and we didn’t respond to it enough.”