Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell paid tribute to his players as they moved up to second in Super League with a crushing victory over Warrington.
It came as little shock that this season’s surprise package won, but the manner in which they brushed aside last season’s Grand Final runners-up served notice that their high standing in the table is no fluke.
They have now won eight matches this season – one less than they managed in the entirety of last year – and Powell admits even he is surprised by their position in the standings.
“I thought we’d be good,” he said. “When you put a team together and you’ve got quite a few new players in there then you don’t know how good.
“But the way the players have gone about it, it is a rightful position. It’s not by any fluke or luck, the players are putting genuine performances in.
“Whether I thought we’d be second I’m not sure about that, but I thought we’d be competing on a weekly basis.”
After a nip-and-tuck opening half hour, Cas never looked back after two converted tries from Michael Shenton gave them an 18-6 half-time lead.
Second-half tries from James Clare, who also grabbed their opener, Jamie Ellis and Richard Owen ensured there would be no way back for Warrington before Shenton put the seal on the win by completing his hat-trick.
“I thought we played some really smart stuff,” added the Tigers coach.
“Early on, Warrington just punched their noses through us a little bit and they had a little bit of ascendancy in terms of field position, but once we got a foothold in the game we were really good.
“It was a really solid, professional effort with some sprinklings of outstanding play in there – a great effort from us.”
The triumph was made all the more remarkable by Powell making eight changes from the side that beat Wakefield on Good Friday, with nine-try top scorer Justin Carney rested and the entire forward pack changed.
“We should be starting to believe that we’ve got a genuine team here. It doesn’t matter who I put in, everybody just does their job,” added Powell.
“The depth of the squad is there for a reason. It’s there so players are constantly being pushed to improve the game.”
Warrington’s only points came through Michael Monaghan’s converted try on a day where they suffered their fifth defeat in 10 games this season. Wolves coach Tony Smith was left unhappy by their attacking display.
“I’ve just asked some of my staff to see if they could unpack our attacking game, I think it was left on the coach,” said Smith.
Castleford Tigers: Tansey, Owen, Gibson, Shenton, Clare, Sneyd, Ellis, Lynch, Milner, Wheeldon, Mariano, Webster, Massey. Substitutes: Huby, Millington, Hauraki, Clark. Warrington Wolves: Russell, J. Monaghan, R Evans, Atkins, Penny, O’Brien, Ratchford, Hill, M. Monaghan, Asotasi, Waterhouse, Laithwaite, Harrison. Substitutes: Higham, Currie, England, B Evans.
Referee: R Silverwood (RFL).