Daryl Powell took great delight in proving the doubters wrong after his Castleford team turned around their dismal form in spectacular fashion to defeat Warrington 35-20 in the semi-finals of the Betfred Challenge Cup.
The Tigers bounced back from the embarrassment of their 60-6 home Super League defeat by Leeds as well as a 38-14 loss to the Wolves a fortnight ago to run in six tries against the team Powell will join as coach at the end of the season.
Powell has consistently dismissed any talk of a conflict of interest as he prepares to leave his home-town club and he says that will not change as he gets ready to lead them out at Wembley against St Helens on July 17.
Powell said: “I’m obviously delighted. It was a big swing in games wasn’t it? We lost by (conceding) 60 and they won by (scoring) 60 last week and not many people were giving us much chance.
“We showed what we are about, we showed we still care. Some people doubted that but I’d like to say to the fans I’ve been concentrating throughout on this job.
“A lot of people have been jumping up and down and I can’t understand that. I’ve been committed to this club for eight years and that hasn’t changed. Some people need to take a look at themselves and give their heads a wobble.”
Powell was able to bring in eight fresh faces, including second rower Alex Foster for his first appearance of the season.
They added a steely resolve to their defence while the return of former Warrington half-back Gareth O’Brien, who was preferred to Danny Richardson, and full-back Niall Evalds added a cutting edge to their attack which was sorely lacking against Leeds.
Powell added: “Quality players make a big difference. We were able to pick a more rounded team today. I thought our first-half performance was near-perfect.
“I thought both half-backs were class and Niall Evalds was international class.
“I knew the boys were going to play well. Our attack was class and some of our defensive work was much more rigid, although we want to improve our tryline defence.”