CASTLEFORD Tigers head coach Daryl Powell praised his squad as they overcame “awkward” opponents Toronto Wolfpack.
They defeated the Super League newcomers 28-10 in their opening game of the season and did so having faced a number of issues.
“It’s been an awkward one for us just as a week,” said Powell, who saw new signing George Griffin depart early on with concussion.
“We had a lot of blokes not training, three blokes not certain of playing, then we lost Griff, who we’d slotted into the back-row…
“So it was just awkward and they are an awkward team. They have a lot of offloads in them and a lot of hype around them.
“So for us to win it was important. It certainly wasn’t our best performance but it’s important you get a win and we handled them pretty well.”
Tries from Greg Eden, Michael Shenton, Peter Mata’utia, Grant Millington and Adam Milner helped Castleford to victory but most eyes were on Sonny Bill Williams’s arrival.
The former All Black came off the bench in the 25th minute at right second-row and played the rest of the match but made a number of handling mistakes and did little to stir the crowd up.
Powell said: “He’ll get better, He passed the ball a lot.
“Obviously he’s an offload threat but he hasn’t played rugby league for five years so it will take him time to bed in.
“And from what I’ve seen of him he’s a good guy and has brought a lot to the game in terms of column inches.”
Toronto coach Brian McDermott confirmed Williams would play at Salford on Saturday before heading to New Zealand for the birth of his fourth child.
“When he got his second wind he got through some tackles, got through some carries,” he said,
“It’s always good when you sign someone of his calibre, when you bring him out in front of a West Yorkshire crowd.
“They get excited by a certain aspect of life don’t they, (singing ‘What a waste of money’) a certain aspect of life that is usually on the negative side.
“But that’s part of the theatre I suppose, he got the biggest cheer of the day when he dropped the ball.”