Hock exit has helped Tigers’ foes to focus

Castleford Tigers' head coach 'Daryl Powell (Picture: Scott Merrylees).
Castleford Tigers' head coach 'Daryl Powell (Picture: Scott Merrylees).
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CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ head coach Daryl Powell reckons dispensing with troubled England star Gareth Hock may have been a catalyst for Salford Red Devils’ recent revival.

The West Yorkshire club, who could do with a renaissance of their own with just one win this term, host their in-form opponents tonight.

Salford are seeking a fourth match unbeaten since being vanquished 52-6 by St Helens.

Second-row Hock departed for Championship club Leigh Centurions not long after and head coach Iestyn Harris – Powell’s former Leeds Rhinos team-mate – has also since benefitted from the arrival of Australia coach Tim Sheens on a consultancy basis.

“Maybe what they did with Hock has done them some good,” said Powell, following Salford’s wins over Hull FC and Wakefield Trinity and a draw in Perpignan.

“They have certainly got good players, you can’t question that.

“They are always going to be a threat – physically, they are good and they come at you – so it will be a big challenge for us.

“Rangi (Chase) is playing exceptionally well, but they have good players across the board and we have got to focus on ourselves.

“We need to play with more consistency, from game to game and within games as well.

“If we can replicate the way we played against Wigan rather than Huddersfield we are confident.”

Castleford were imperious when defeating Wigan 42-14 to get off the mark, but followed with a horrendous display at Huddersfield, losing 22-0 last Thursday.

They sit second bottom but do now, however, have three consecutive home matches to look forward to.

“It will be pretty crucial for us this run,” admitted Powell. “Motivation is going to be pretty high. We were all disappointed with the way we performed last week and this is a big game for us.”