Castleford face test of title challenge

Castleford Tigers' coach Daryl Powell. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Castleford Tigers' coach Daryl Powell. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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If you listen carefully there are some people quietly beginning to assert that Castleford Tigers could be genuine contenders for Super League.

For their coach Daryl Powell, he believes the next two games could go a long way to deciding whether they really are as good as some believe.

Castleford have won 10 of their dozen games so far, defeating champions Wigan Warriors among other notables with some imperious performances, and also reaching the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

They may have finished 12th last term, but they are certainly transformed now.

Whether they last the pace remains to be seen but if they can win at reigning League Leaders’ Shield holders Huddersfield Giants tomorrow and follow up with victory over six-time Grand Final winners Leeds Rhinos at Wheldon Road on Thursday it will be a significant indicator of their true ability.

“We have been reasonably consistent and we need to maintain those standards to be in with a chance of winning this game on Sunday,” said Powell.

“The next two games are a real challenge for us, starting with Huddersfield.”

Their hosts have endured an indifferent start but have picked up and are now seeking a third successive Super League win after victories over Salford Red Devils and Wakefield Trinity.

“They won a couple of games over Easter and they’ve got good players,” added Powell, who is also aware Huddersfield have had extra time on the training field given their early fourth-round exit from the Challenge Cup.

Key forwards Andy Lynch and Weller Hauraki return for Castleford while James Clare, Richard Owen and Michael Channing are all back in contention in the three-quarters.

Jordan Tansey, Ashley Gibson and the injured Nathan Massey drop out of the Tigers squad.