Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell has called on his side to prove they can fulfil their potential as a top-four side with a “challenging” trip to Warrington Wolves on Friday night.
The Tigers will now play in front of the TV cameras on Friday night following the postponement of Wigan’s game against Widnes, as they look to make it back-to-back wins at the start of the new Super League season.
And Powell says that his side must be ready to face an in-form Warrington side following their comprehensive victory against Brisbane in last weekend’s World Club Series.
He said: “We’ve been talking and thinking about ourselves as a top-four club for quite a while now so if we’re going to achieve that goal then these are the challenges you’ve got to face up to.
“I thought they were superb against Brisbane; I was pleased for the English game for both the results but Warrington looked sharp, athletic and strong and they really challenged Brisbane. We recognise the challenge and what is going to be needed to beat them.
“If they come up with what they did last week it’ll be a fair challenge for us. They played a high-quality team in Brisbane and were too good for them so it’ll be challenging.”
However, Powell admits his team are eager to be let off the leash following a one-week break for the World Club Series which he called “ridiculous”.
“It’s felt like too long. It’s ridiculous that you play one game and then have one off but it is what it is – we just have to get on with it,” he said.
“You’re kicking your heels for a week but we’ve got some focus back now. You want to be hardened and the consistent nature of games until you play one every three games is needed at the moment. We worked on a few things leading up to Warrington then they changed the team around – but we’ve had the time to do it.”
And unsurprisingly, Powell identified half-back Kevin Brown as a major threat.
He said: “Brown is a really good player, isn’t he? He played the way he’s played for Widnes last week against Brisbane and people were unsure as to whether he would suit them – but he did last week.
“He’s a clever player both with his kicking and passing and I thought he was exceptional last week, as were all the Warrington players.”