Table topping Castleford out to maintain standards on French trip

Daryl Powell.
Daryl Powell.

Head coach Daryl Powell is backing his Castleford Tigers players to stay professional despite there being less at stake in Saturday’s game away to Catalans Dragons.

The Tigers go to France knowing that whatever happens they will finish top of the Betfred Super League at the end of the regular season and the Dragons will be heading for the Middle 8s, but Powell does not want any drop off in standards from his table toppers.

He told the Express: “I don’t think there will be any motivation problems.

“Generally we haven’t had to get the players up. We’ve had to respond a couple of times when we’ve started a little bit slow, but I think generally the boys are pretty well motivated and I think they will be all right this week.

“We want to maintain our standards and bring back another two points.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge definitely, with a big travel we have to handle, but we went there last year and did a similar thing and won the game so we will be looking to do the same thing again.”

Catalans have endured a difficult season, but there will be no underestimating of them from Cas, according to Powell.

He said: “We recognise that they’ve improved a little bit.

“They have been in games until the last 10 minutes in the last two weeks when both Wigan and St Helens have got away from them late on. Whether it’s something they have to rectify or not that’s up to them. For us we just need to play well.

“I’m very surprised they have ended up in the Middle 8s. They’ve spent a lot of money, they’ve got good players across the field and a very experienced squad.

“They’ll be disappointed that they are where they are.

“Obviously a coach has lost his job and Steve McNamara’s in place and that creates its own lift in form sometimes. We have to be mindful of that.

“But ultimately every game we play this year is about us. It’s about where we’re at and how we want to approach it.

“This is a little bit different going over there, but if we play well we’re very much capable of coming away with two points and we want to finish the regular season with another win.

“It’s a tough place to go to. We’d had some good performances over there and been unlucky, but it was a strong performance from us last year and we got the win. Hopefully we can do the same again.”

Cas will have front rower Matt Cook back for the game, but are set to be without four other forwards plus winger Greg Eden and centre Jake Webster.

Powell explained: “There’s still a few people missing, but Matt Cook will be back.

“I expected Larne Patrick to be back, but he’s had a bit of a setback illness-wise and I don’t think he will play this week. He’s been in bed all weekend and at the start of this week and hasn’t trained yet.”