Daryl Powell: Wigan clash will give Castleford a real sense of strength of squad
Daryl Powell told Boots Sunday's clash with Wigan will prove a real test of Castleford's credentials.
Last Updated: 06/03/14 7:47am
The Tigers, like leaders St Helens and third-placed Leeds, have all of their opening three games of the season and look a side transformed under Powell, who arrived at the club last May.
But the 48-year-old told Boots 'n' All that he wouldn't allow his players to get carried away with their early-season success
"We were confident that we'd recruited the players that we needed during the off-season period and we worked exceptionally hard during pre-season," he said.
"We've got off to a great start and we've worked very hard defensively so I'm delighted that we've been able to start so well but I'm not really surprised.
"But there are a lot of big challenges ahead for us. We are not going to get too carried away, we're going to focus on every single week and get players improving on a daily basis.
"They are all competing hard across everything that we do at the club; we've had a great start and it's given us a really good platform, but there are tough challenges to come starting with Sunday [against Wigan]."
Castleford secured an 18-4 win over Wigan when the sides met at the DW Stadium last June thanks to tries from Kirk Dixon and Grant Millington and Powell said he'd certainly settle for a repeat scoreline at the weekend.
"That was our best defensive performance of my time at the club during last season," he reflected.
"We challenged them. We did some smart things with the ball and we are going to need to be outstanding again defensively and we're going to need to play very well with the ball.
"You need to challenge the better teams and we feel like we've got a team that is capable of doing that but Wigan play with such intensity and they come at you right from the first whistle that you've got to go with them in that first 15 minutes.
"The players are aware of that and I'm confident that we'll be ready to go and I think Sunday will give us a real sense of where we are as a team."
Powell refused to be drawn on the loss of Rangi Chase to Salford last year, preferring to focus on his current players, but when asked about Liam Finn praised the 30-year-old's game nous.
"Rangi was a great player for Castleford and I don't want to take away anything that he did. We've got a new set of players now, we've got new half-backs at the club who have done a fantastic job and it's the whole team that is working so hard together.
"Finn has been around a while. He's a very smart player. He's been great in the Championship for a while and obviously I've coached him before so I understand his qualities and his ability to control a team.
"The players pretty much respected him as soon as he came into the place and he's delivered so much for us; everybody around him has gone with him and is supporting the things that he's doing.
"Obviously, it's a 13-man game and everybody is doing their job within our structures at the moment. We've got some quality players within the place as well, so the mix is good.
"We've got a lot of depth, which we haven't had in the past, so I'm looking forward to what we can hopefully deliver over the season as a whole. There's a big squad that is going to play a part in that."