Castleford coach Daryl Powell was a relieved man after his struggling side held off a spirited fightback to beat Hull KR 38-24 in a frantic Super League clash at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Winger Greg Eden scored a hat-trick of tries as the Tigers, fresh from a 48-6 mauling by Hull FC, eased the pressure on their coach with a second win in 10 league and cup games since the resumption of the season in August.
The kick-off in St Helens was delayed by an hour after Castleford were caught up in congestion on the M62 motorway but they made up for lost time by scoring four tries in the first 27 minutes to lead 24-0 before being forced to scrap for the win.
“We had to get here first,” Powell said. “That was interesting, the old three-hour journey across the M62. It always has an impact but I thought we handled it OK.
“I just felt we needed to win today, however we did it. We had to win, we’re under so much pressure. It’s a good feeling, it’s been a fair while. It’s a pleasing win.
“We started great and were fantastic for a large period of the first half. We gave Hull KR an opportunity to have a shot at us and they really challenge you.
“We lost a bit of discipline and focus and were a bit leaky on our own line but we showed a lot of character and courage. We lost Nathan Massey early and then Jacques O’Neill and it was reshuffle after reshuffle.”
Powell handed debuts to youngsters Bailey Hodgson and Brad Martin and was delighted with their contribution.
“It was Bailey’s first game for I don’t know how long,” he said. “He had to make his debut at Super League level at full-back, which is one of the most demanding positions in the game, on the back of very little training and preparation.
“I thought he was awesome and Brad Martin was great, as was Lewis Peachey and Jacques O’Neill so some young bucks are doing us proud.”
The result was a disappointing one for Hull KR’s assistant coach David Hodgson, who found himself in charge for the first time after Tony Smith was forced to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone with coronavirus.
“Tony was at home but he was speaking to Stan (Gene) with some advice on what he could see and it was good to have that,” Hodgson said. “Everyone mucked in, as did the team.
“We showed a lot of grit to get back into the game but we need to stop giving teams a bit of a start.
“We showed we can play rugby at times and score some nice points but we need to fix a few things up at the start of a game. When you give a quality side like Cas a head start it’s tough to drag it back.
“In the last 10 minutes I thought we had a chance but I think scoreboard pressure got to us.”
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