Powell targets Leeds upset

Published: Wednesday 10th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Castleford coach Daryl Powell is confident his side can “lay down a marker” when they take on First Utility Super League leaders Leeds at Headingley on Thursday night.

The Tigers are one of three teams challenging for the prized fourth spot they secured at the end of last season after posting back-to-back wins over Wakefield and Hull KR and Powell believes they are running into form at just the right time.

Although Powell’s men lost at home to the Rhinos over Easter, they will have happy memories of their last visit to Headingley where they claimed a 24-24 draw last July when Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield was sent off for the first time in his career for head-butting Luke Dorn.

“If you can get a result at Leeds, you’re going pretty well,” Powell said. “It’s a tough place to go. We were outstanding there last year and drew the game so we know we can go there and perform well.

“Obviously it’s a slightly different team this year but I think we’ve shown some really good signs over the last couple of games. There’s a real good feel about the boys and the way they’re going about their business.

“We need to go challenge them, put them under pressure and make them work for everything.

“They’re certainly a tough team to play against this year. They take the odds to quite a few things with the offloads and the way they shift the ball.

“So we’re going to have to be very good but I just look at the boys at the minute and think there’s something really growing about them.

“I think we’ve a really good chance to go there and put a marker down for our season.”

The match, a repeat of last year’s Challenge Cup final which the Rhinos won 23-10, means a short turn-around for the table-toppers, who played Wakefield on Sunday.

Castleford opted to bring their game at Hull KR forward by two days to give themselves extra time to prepare for the derby but the Leeds’ management decided against making a similar request.

The Rhinos came through their 58-26 win with no major injury concerns and coach Brian McDermott was able to rest several of his key players – including Danny McGuire, Jamie Peacock, Stevie Ward and Sinfield – during the match.

“It’s do-able,” Powell said of the four-day turn-around. “I think if you can avoid it, you should.

“Leeds are a pretty fit team and I think they took quite a few of their senior boys off to give them a rest once they got in front of Wakefield at the weekend.

“For me, if you can give your players a couple of days’ rest, it’s the right thing to do.”

Castleford’s former long-serving Leeds prop Ryan Bailey will face his old club for the first time since leaving Headingley at the end of last season.

He initially joined Hull KR but missed their opening match of the season against the Rhinos through injury and was then out of the game until signing for the Tigers at the end of April.

Powell will make a late announcement on whether Ben Roberts or Jordan Tansey will start the game at full-back while Liam Sutcliffe is expected to continue in that role for Leeds in the absence of Zak Hardaker.

Published: Wednesday 10th June 2015 by The News Editor

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