Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell admits that Cas fans – including himself – look forward to their clashes against Leeds Rhinos more than any other, and has fanned the flames ahead of the clash, stating the rivalry is so big because of the ‘big city, small town’ connection between Leeds and Cas.
Both sides have been superb so far this season and sit 3rd and 1st respectively on the Super League ladder. However, Powell knows his side will have to be at their best if they are to get over the line against their arch enemies tonight.
“It’s the ‘big city, small town’ thing. They’re perceived as having deep pockets with loads of money and we’re feeding off scraps, that’s the historical way of looking at it. It’s been a fair while since both clubs have been going really well, and the fans have been unbelievable for us this year,” Powell said.
“I’m from this area, and I understand what makes people tick. I felt I knew what it took to get people reconnected with the team, so it was something that I’ve put a lot of attention. This is a team I support as a kid so I know what it’s all about. This is the game that supporters come here with an extra spring in their step looking forward to what’s going to happen.”
“We can justifiably say we’ve got a fair bit about us, and it’ll be interesting to see the challenges that both offenses and defences throw at each other out on the field.”
Powell admitted that although another short turnaround – their third of the season including Easter – is not ideal, but the players and squad have to deal with it, with Powell claiming his side are more than capable of coping with the demands of two games in five days.
“It’s not perfect by any stretch; this is our third short turnaround in pretty quick succession. I don’t think it’s ideal but I keep saying it’s there, and there’s nothing we can do about it – so we can’t complain about it.
“We’ve responded to short turnarounds well, and hopefully we can do it again. The players will be ready, I’m sure of that, and we’ll be ready for Leeds. I think we’re good enough to challenge them but we’re going to have to be right on the money.”
Powell also confirmed Luke Dorn is not yet ready to return to action. He said: “Luke Dorn’s not back; he pulled up with some cramp in his hamstring, but apart from that we’re not too far away in terms of the squad injuries. However, there will be nobody coming back to speak of.”