Are Castleford The Real Deal?
There’s been a lot of talk about Castleford making a genuine push for a top four spot in 2017. Their recruitment has been quite handy with 2015 Man Of Steel Zak Hardaker added while Greg Eden and Jesse Sene-Lefao are further additions with NRL experience. Add that to the talent already at the club in the likes of Greg Minikin, Michael Shenton, Rangi Chase and a pack of forwards that includes the ageless Andy Lynch as well as the dynamic Grant Millington and Junior Moors and you have the basis of a competitive squad.
And not just on paper it seems, with Daryl Powell’s side backing up an impressive stroll over Leigh Centurions in Round One with a statement win at Warrington last time out. The Wolves are heavily fancied for the top four and even a Grand Final appearance but the Tigers, led by the influential Hardaker and an excellent half pairing of Luke Gale and Rangi Chase (who will miss tonight’s game), took it to Tony Smith’s side to earn a deserved 30-22 win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Next they face a Leeds Rhinos side which still hasn’t convinced anyone that it is over its 2016 malaise. An opening day defeat at St Helens looks slightly disturbing in the context of Saints’ inability to win at Leigh last weekend, but Brian McDermott’s side were just about good enough to get over the top of an inconsistent Salford last time out. Form books at the ready to be lashed out of the window as is traditional in derbies, but with Powell no doubt especially keen to get one over on the club he coached and played for Castleford must be slight favourites, especially on home soil.
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