Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell hopes that his experience from the Championship will stand his side in good stead, as they open their Challenge Cup campaign at Batley on Sunday.
Powell masterminded a famous upset over the Tigers whilst he was coach of Featherstone, but he admits it will be a real challenge on the infamous Batley slope this weekend. However, he believes that the experience he and Liam Finn have from playing there on a regular basis could give them an edge.
“You could have picked an easier game in the draw, that is for sure. I’ve been there plenty of times with Featherstone and it’s always been a real tough battle,” Powell said.
“They’ve lost a few players from last season but John Kear is going to have his team pretty motivated. He’s got Challenge Cup history and it’s a difficult pitch to play in – probably the most difficult pitch – you have to play differently on it in both halves of the game.
“I think with myself and Liam Finn having experience there is of benefit to us though, but it will be a very tough game.”
Powell denied there was a temptation to blood some youngsters against their lower-ranked opposition, insisting the team will need to be on their game in order to progress – as well as admitting he would love to lead Cas out at Wembley.
“I won’t be messing about too much with the team; there might be a couple of changes but this is no game to be experimenting with and we need to get it right.
“It’s the outstanding cup competition in our game, and we’d love to get to Wembley. But there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before that and we need to approach this game like we would do any other. We need to be focused because these kinds of games can get you if you aren’t on the money.”