Powell pleased with Castleford’s young first-teamers

Young half-back Tom Holmes played well against Huddersfield.
Young half-back Tom Holmes played well against Huddersfield.

Castleford coach Daryl Powell was pleased with the performances of the side’s young players last Sunday.

Stand-off Tom Holmes, winger Greg Minikin, two-try second-rower Mike McMeeken and substitute Will Maher all played their part in the 38-34 win against Huddersfield.

“We had 10 players out and then we lost Grant Millington pretty early in the game so that made it even more difficult,” said Powell.

“It’s tough especially when you can’t rotate your players. We have been pretty busted.

“To win a game under those circumstances and in the manner we did was especially pleasing.

“Greg Minikin played really well against Catalans and then he backed up and had a strong game on the wing.

“I thought Tom Holmes was really good. He made a couple of errors early on but he showed some real composure and his understanding with Mike McMeeken was very strong. They created some good opportunities and we scored points on the back of their relationship together.

“McMeeken is a good player. He’s got some ability with the ball as well as being a big, physical presence. Mike’s only 21 and he is growing all the time as a player.

“We also had Will Maher off the bench.

“It was really good to see the young players getting experience and they are only going to grow as a result as that.”

Powell was happy with the two points but he admitted the Tigers “didn’t play great”.

“We did some really smart things with the ball but defensively we were a bit poor,” he added.

“There are lots of areas we need to improve. Our contacts were a little bit soft and we defended our try line poorly at times. But I suppose that’s a little bit to be expected. It was the third game over Easter and obviously being a little bit down on troops rotation wise means our energy levels were probably a little bit lower than where they need to be.

“We’ve certainly got to improve. I think we recognise that wasn’t good enough defensively when we concede 30-odd points.”

Powell was pleased with three-try winger Jy Hitchcox.

“Jy is doing all right and he’s been really tough,” said Powell.

“He dislocated three fingers against Leeds. He’s been having around 25 injections in his hand over the last two weeks to play so it’s a real tough effort from him.”