LUKE GALE conceded leaders Castleford Tigers needed some “serious words” before recovering to extend their winning sequence to 10 Super League games.
They had been 16-0 down at the interval at derby rivals Wakefield Trinity on Thursday before finally clinching a dramatic 25-24 success with the England scrum-half’s 79th-minute drop goal.
It was the first time Castleford – who now have a remarkable 10 point lead at the top – had been kept scoreless in a half this season and impressive Wakefield posed them real problems.
Gale said: “You can take positives and you can take a lot of negatives as well.
“We were poor in the first half and you’ve got to give credit to Wakey. They started better than us and they were probably the better team, to be honest.
“We spoke at half-time – pretty serious words – and the self-belief we showed to come back was pretty special.
“Special teams do that and I think we’ve got one here.”
Whereas earlier this season, Castleford were vanquishing opponents with real style, they are now edging victories having beaten title rivals Hull FC by just two points the previous week.
However, as they continue their bid for a maiden championship, Gale does not believe that is a bad thing.
“At the business end of the season I don’t think it’s going to be 50-point wins,” said the former Bradford Bulls captain.
It’s going to be tough games. I would prefer it to be a bit more comfortable and a bit easier than that, but we will take it.Luke Gale
“It’s going to be tough games. I would prefer it to be a bit more comfortable and a bit easier than that, but we will take it.
“We are on a 10-game winning streak and everyone’s aspirations are higher because they want to beat you and knock you off. We have got to match that.
“Big games are coming thick and fast and it is tough because teams are coming after us.
“We are not starting great, but it is where we want to be.
“We are 10 points clear at the top, but we are going to have to be better than we were (against Wakefield) because people want to knock us off our perch.”
They host Salford Red Devils – who started this round in second place – on Friday in what should be another stern examination ahead of the season finale.
Castleford, who could conceivably secure their semi-final spot before the Super 8s even begin, did suffer some injury concerns, though.
Loose forward Adam Milner described Trinity’s pitch as “absolutely shocking” on Twitter, after suffering an ankle injury which led to him leaving on crutches.
England full-back Zak Hardaker, Jake Webster and Nathan Massey also picked up knocks.