Castleford coach Daryl Powell hails League Leaders' Shield success
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 17/08/17 11:40pm
Castleford coach Daryl Powell insists the job is not finished after watching his side secure their first-ever League Leaders' Shield with a 45-20 win over Wakefield.
The Tigers lifted the trophy - for the first time in the club's 91-year history - with four games to spare to secure a home semi-final and place in the prestigious World Club Championship next February.
"It's fantastic for us, a group of people who have worked so hard from pre-season all the way through to be in this position," said Powell.
"It's just an awesome feeling. It's a good news story for rugby league.
"I think everybody thinks we've got this and that's it but it's not. We'll celebrate this and we'll move on. We've got Huddersfield next up and, when the time comes, we'll be really prepared to take them on."
Castleford, who received a cheque for £100,000 for topping the table, are now just 80 minutes away from a maiden Grand Final appearance and Powell is already turning his thought to Old Trafford.
"Winning the league leaders is a big deal I think but winning the Grand Final would be just as big," he said.
"With the Grand Final, it's a bigger stadium, there's a lot more people and it's a different pressure but it's another challenge and we'll look to take it head on."
Liam Finn kicked an early penalty to put the visitors into a 2-0 lead but Zak Hardaker crossed to settle Castleford's nerves before Ben Jones-Bishop touched down to level the scores.
Converted Mike McMeeken and Jake Webster tries put the Tigers 18-6 up with Mason Caton-Brown replying to give the hosts an eight-point half-time advantage.
Wakefield captain Danny Kirmond powered over to reduce the gap to two points with 30 minutes left to unnerve the home fans once again but Greg Eden responded with his 35th Super League try on the season and Webster's second to put Castleford in the driving seat.
Webster crashed over for his hat-trick to send the Castleford fans into raptures before a Luke Gale drop-goal, a fourth try from the former New Zealand international and Hardaker's second score of the night added gloss to the scoreline, with Max Jowitt getting a consolation score for Trinity.
Man of the match with four of his side's eight tries was veteran centre Jake Webster, the former New Zealand international who rated the Tigers' achievement among the highlights of his career.
"I'm just happy to be still playing," he said. "My legs are getting older.
"I've done some special things in my career but this is definitely up there. It's a special way to finish this part of the year.
"But it's half a job done. We've got more to give and we'll keep building to the home semi. We'll keep working for the next six weeks."
A third defeat of the season at the hands of their nearest rivals was a blow to Wakefield's semi-final hopes but coach Chris Chester was proud of his players' efforts.
"There was a lot to be positive about," said Chester. "Despite the lack of field position in that first half, we were still in the game.
"And we gave it a real crack in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half.
"Credit to Cas they have been fantastic all season. They caused us a lot of problems on our left edge which we need to fix it.
"But I thought we did a lot of good things and I said to the guys I am extremely proud of the effort they put in."