Powell puts defence as key for Cas

Castleford coach Daryl says the Tigers have been working hard on how they deal with pressure in pre-season to help tighten up his team’s defensive line this year.

Castleford head to the Canary Islands next week for a training camp ahead of the opening Super League fixture.

Powell said defence has been a key focus for him.

“I’d like to see us be a bit more durable under pressure,” he admitted.

“Anybody that’s watched us play over the last few years would say we can play a bit, we’ll put teams under pressure with the ball.

“We’re a threat, we are a threat, we score points. But we’re a bit leaky and towards the back end when the pressure’s on we’ve fallen away a little bit.

“From our perspective in pre-season is to put the boys under a bit more pressure.

“Hopefully they’ll handle that and they can take that with them when we move into the season.

“Everybody talks about pre-season and how it’s gone well and then you get to the season and what’s it going to be like.

“I think we’ve got what we need.”

Powell said Castleford’s pre-season has gone to plan and his players have responded well.​

“​It’s been excellent,” he said.

“Obviously its been pretty wet but we’ve trained on some good tracks.

“Pre-season has been fair bit more fluent than last year. Less personnel rotation, which has really helped, and the boys have been awesome.

“Their attitude has been first-class. That’s been really pleasing and the competition for places has driven that I think, because our squad looks pretty deep.”

The Tigers finished fifth in 2015 in both the regular season and the Super 8s.

Castleford started last season with several losses and Powell knows that scenario must be avoided this year.

“We’ve got a tough start, a real tough start, three out of four are away,” he said.

Hull KR, Hull and Saints and then we’ve got Wakefield at home, who’ve got one of the best coaches in Australia over the last couple of decades.

“It’s interesting, it’s going to be a tough start for us. We want to get a platform but it’s going to be tough.

“We’ve been a little bit too good for Hull KR over the last couple of years, we have been for Wakefield generally but I don’t want that to enter their heads.

“They’re going to be tough games. Both of those are looking for a fresh start, Hull are, they’ve recruited pretty heavily.

“And Saints, well Saints speaks for itself. It’s a tough game. We need to start well.

“We’ve got four weeks now, a couple of pre-season games to nail and make sure we’re ready to rumble when we come into that first game.”

Powell believes the consistency in his squad this season should help performances.

“We changed two halves and a 9 last year, which made it pretty tough to be fair,” he said.

“It’s been much less of that. We’ve had quite a few guys come in our outside backs, which has strengthened us up there a bit.

“Our pack is pretty much the same, Gadwin Stringer and Paul McShane came in the last part of the season. That was good I think.

“Our pack looks really solid and consistent. It’ll be like having three new players in there with Boyle, Mariano and Jewitt, who didn’t really play much last year.”

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