While pre season friendlies aren’t overly important come the end of the season, they can set the tone for application, attitude and be the beginning of structures and partnerships for a team.
With this in mind, Castleford Tigers’ head coach Daryl Powell was rightfully disappointed by his players’ performance in their annual Boxing Day match against Featherstone Rovers, one which the 2017 Super League Grand Finalists lost 32-16. Speaking about his team’s showing, Powell said “I thought we were poor. I thought our attitude was poor and that was the beginning of the end of it for more” and, bearing in mind what he said earlier in the week regarding young and fringe players taking their chance against Rovers to stake a claim for a first team shirt, he felt that they didn’t, adding “they should be doing better.” It will perhaps be a relief for the 2017 Coach of the Year that some of his big name players weren’t part of the performance – indicating his belief that the likes of Luke Gale and Michael Shenton will drive on field standards – but, either way, any team on the pitch should be able to deliver 100% attitude and application to the task at hand.
As for Featherstone, their team featured a trialist by the name of Gareth Gale who, after joining on trial in November from amateur club Featherstone Lions, penned a one year deal with the Kingstone Press Championship team. After a try scoring appearance at Wheldon Road, his new coach John Duffy said “I have been impressed with Gareth from day one. He has bought into what we are doing,” suggesting that the former amateur ace, if he continues his hard work, could be a future star for Rovers.