THEY did not need convincing as such but Castleford Tigers do now firmly believe they are onto “something special” after their epic win at Hull FC.
Daryl Powell’s side needed to produce a gutsy effort to deliver a 31-24 success at KC Stadium on Thursday, forged by Luke Gale’s 74th-minute drop goal but sealed with Denny Solomona’s hat-trick try in the last seconds.
Having come from behind to defeat Super League’s previously unbeaten leaders, Castleford certainly showed plenty of character.
For Ben Crooks, the heavily-involved centre who had a particularly pleasing night on his first return to his former employers, it said a lot about his side’s potential.
“I think it opens everyone’s eyes to what we’re here to do this year,” said the 22-year-old, who stood up admirably to a relentless barrage of attacks down his channel.
“We’re here to do a job. We’re not here to be there or thereabouts but we want to win something.
“This victory proves to people we’re capable of something special and it proves to us as a group that we’re onto something.
“It was a tough battle but I really enjoyed it. We really ground it out, we did it tough and we knew it would come down to whoever wanted it most, whoever dug deepest and I think we certainly did that.”
Castleford also had to cope with the loss of Joel Monaghan, the former Australia winger who was a late withdrawal.
That meant untried former Featherstone Rovers player Jy Hitchcox was given his Super League debut outside Crooks – and the pair instantly combined for the newcomer to score the first of his two tries after barely 90 seconds.
“Monners was struggling with his back in the team run and it wasn’t worth risking,” said Crooks, who has played in all three of unbeaten Castleford’s games so far on his return from a 12-month stint in Australia.
“But I trained with Jy the day before the game so we knew we’d be able to do a job.
“The win came down to a bit of everything. We weren’t the best in all departments but we dug deep and that’s what you’ve got to do sometimes.
“We did what we needed to do; we did the hard stuff right and although it was scrappy we did enough. Hull fought back well from 18-6 down; they’re going to be a top team this year.
“But we go to Saints next Friday which will be another tough challenge. We can’t be complacent; we’ve got to go there with the same attitude we’ve shown here.”