Powell wants Tigers to be battle hardened

Daryl Powell thinks Castleford are only “scratching the surface” with their current performances, despite sitting two points off second place.

The Tigers kept their play-off hopes alive with a 24-0 win over Huddersfield on Sunday, a victory that leaves them just a win behind Challenge Cup finalists Warrington.

Castleford, on paper, have the toughest run-in of the play-off chasers, with games at St Helens and Wigan either side of a clash with Hull FC.

But Powell insists he can’t think of a better possible run-in as the Tigers go in search of a top-five spot.

“I think we should be clear second, to be honest,” Powell said.

“We were 12 points up against a couple of weeks back at Hull KR and lost and then we lost by one point at Leeds. They’re all ifs, buts and maybes, but we had a clear opportunity to win and didn’t.

“But it is what it is, I think we’re in a position where it isn’t in our hands and we’ve got a tough run-in, but I just said to the players it’s a great opportunity.

“We’ve got St Helens after the Cup, but there are no givens there. It doesn’t matter who they put out there as they’re fantastic. That’s a tough game, then we’ve got Hull, that’s a tough game, then we’ve got Wigan away, tough game.

“If we’re going to make the top five we’re going to be good enough to get there and if we don’t we aren’t good enough to be there.

“But if we are there we’ll be hardened because of the games we’re playing and it is set up perfectly to see if we’re good enough or not.

“Looking at the form table I think us and Salford are the top two. For us to be there shows there’s a little bit of something there in terms of momentum. The key for us now is Saints next up and that’s a great challenge. We’ve to show some steel.”