Daryl Powell’s determination to enjoy his last season as Castleford coach has been enhanced by his side’s opening 21-12 Betfred Super League victory over Warrington.
Powell says he wants to smile his way through the 2021 season as he prepares to end his eight-year stay with his hometown club and he was in jovial mood after the opening round.
“It is a bit of a challenge for me because I’m pretty tense on match days,” he said.
“I had a bit of dig at that today, I was pretty relaxed. I think it’s an important thing for me to do this year so I’ll keep working on that.”
Former Huddersfield stand-off Jordan Turner marked his debut with two tries as a makeshift winger while new full-back Niall Evalds also enjoyed an impressive start with a try and an all-round impressive performance but Castleford were forced to do it the hard way after a series of injury setbacks.
Turner was forced to play out of position after Powell lost wingers Sosaia Feki and James Clare in pre-season while Gareth O’Brien started in place of half-back Danny Richardson, who is recovering from a wrist injury, and was forced off with a head knock after 20 minutes.
“We got rattled a little bit by Gaz getting knocked out,” Powell said. “I thought he was playing great before he got hurt and it forced us into an early reshuffle.
“But I thought we handled it pretty well and scored some smart tires down our left-hand side.
“It’s a big win for us. Our defence was pretty solid for the most part.”
Powell confirmed that O’Brien’s concussion will rule him out of next Friday’s game against Leeds but hopes to have Richardson back to take his place.
O’Brien’s spot at full-back has been taken by Evalds, the Tigers’ big signing from Salford, and Powell was impressed by his first appearance.
“He’s a class player,” he said. “He spent a fair bit of time in pre-season building up his combinations and you could see he’s fitted into the team in the way we play.
“He’s pretty electric and his pass selection is great. He did that really well today.”