Castleford Tigers: No ground for concern with Ealing 4G pitch

Matt Cook, set to return to action for Castleford Tigers. Picture: Simon Hall
Matt Cook, set to return to action for Castleford Tigers. Picture: Simon Hall

Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell has played down any fears that London’s artificial pitch will present a problem to his team in Saturday’s Betfred Super League game.

London have been strong at home since they moved to their ground in Ealing in 2016 – already beating Wakefield Trinity there in the opening Super League game of the 2019 season – and this will be the first time that the Tigers have played on the 4G surface at the west London venue.

But while Cas head coach Powell respects the Broncos team he does not believe the pitch should offer any fears to his team.

He told the Express: “We’ve done a lot of training in pre-season on the type of pitch that London play on.

“We’ve got two sessions on 4G this week so we know what it’s about.

“It shouldn’t present any issue at all, but the bounce of the ball can cause you a little bit of trouble.

“We’ve just got to go and play well. Don’t worry about anything else, take that out of the equation.

“We’re well used to 4G pitches – we’ve probably trained more on that than we have on grass in pre-season.”

Castleford go into Saturday’s game with an unbeaten record from their first two matches and Powell wants to see his team continue the way they have defended in the wins over Catalans and Hull.

He said: “We’ve started defending well. There’s a great attitude and honesty about the defence at the moment. There’s been some great scramble when we’ve been under pressure and I’ve been delighted with that.

“The key to defending is doing it well consistently.

“Watching Sydney Roosters this week in the World Club Challenge and the way they defended consistent and aggressive, they take your time away from you pretty quickly.

“I think we’ve done that well so far and we just want to be consistent and durable with it.”

Castleford will travel south without six injured first team squad members, but have Matt Cook back and Chris Clarkson in contention to make his debut after he signed a one-year deal with the club at the end of last week.

Powell added: “Obviously you don’t want to be picking up injuries and we’ve got too many at the moment.

“But the players who’ve been taking the field have been doing an awesome job.

“The depth of the squad has been tested already. We’ve got a couple of international players missing so it’s not what you would want, but it’s happened and we just have to get on with it.

“We’ll get Matt Cook back this week so he’ll take Mitch Clark’s place.

“Chris will also be in the squad. I’ll make a decision on what the team will look like over the next day, but he’ll be in there. He will come on board and I just think it will be great for us.”

Powell also admitted to having a selection decision to make on who would take the right centre spot with Ben Roberts in contention with Greg Minikin after impressing off the bench in the win at Hull.