Powell wants happy anniversary

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7th May 2014

Former Leeds Rhinos coach Daryl Powell will be hoping to mark the anniversary of his appointment at Castleford Tigers with a derby triumph over his old club tomorrow night.

It is exactly 12 months since Powell took over from Ian Millward at the Tigers and, after guiding them to an impressive tally of 16 wins from his first 26 matches, he admits a victory over the First Utility Super League leaders would provide a fitting celebration.

Powell played for the Rhinos for three seasons before being appointed as coach from 2001-03 but long before then he used to cheer Castleford from the terraces, especially when Leeds came to town.

"It's big city against small town isn't it?" Powell said. "It's an historical one. They're perceived as having deep pockets with loads of money in them, while Castleford are sort of feeding off scraps.

"When I played at Leeds you knew you were going to be in for fair old challenge when you went to Cas but it's been a fair while since both clubs have been going really well.

"I used to give them some grief as a spectator and hopefully I'll give them some grief on Thursday night."

Leeds suffered a shock 14-12 defeat on their last visit to the Mend-a-Hose Jungle in the second match of last season but it would be no major surprise this time if they reproduced that result.

The Tigers began the season with five straight wins and, although they have lost three of their last six, they have the chance to cut the Rhinos' lead at the top of the table to a point.

However, Brian McDermott's men have lost just once this year and are fresh from an impressive demolition of reigning champions Wigan Warriors.

Powell accepts his old club will be firm favourites and knows their biggest threat will come from their star-studded outside backs, who have scored 40 tries between them so far this season.

"It's clear to see what their strengths are," Powell said. "They have pace and you are talking about wingers who are 107 kilos. That's bigger than quite a lot of props.

"People are talking about their back division being unplayable at times. We know it's going to be a tough challenge but they're the best ones really. We've just got to be confident in what we can deliver.

"We know that every single one of our players is going to have to play to their potential to give us a chance of winning this game.

"Leeds are the form team at the moment but we've scored more points. We can justifiably say we've got a fair bit about us from an attacking point of view. They've conceded the least amount of points so it will be interesting to see what happens.

"It's going to be a real hostile environment but Leeds are very experienced team, so it won't bother them too much but I think it's something we can feed off."

Castleford's long-serving forward Craig Huby reckons the clash with Leeds is the club's biggest derby, topping their duel with nearest neighbours Wakefield Trinity Wildcats whom they play at Easter and the Magic Weekend.

"I think there's a bit more passion between the fans," Huby said. "Being a local lad, a Cas-Leeds derby is one of the games you want to be playing in. It's the one you look for at the start of the season to see when you'll be playing them.

"They're a bigger team (than Wakefield) and they've won leagues and world club challenges etc. We're just were working hard for each other and enjoying our rugby.

"They look pretty good and they are always a strong team but, if we can produce the right attitude, hopefully we can pick them off."

Scrum-half Liam Finn is expected to return for Castleford after sitting out the defeat at Huddersfield Giants while former Leeds outside backs Jordan Tansey and Ashley Gibson are back in contention at the expense of James Clare and Richard Owen.

Leeds are set to recall winger Ben Jones-Bishop while utility forward Stevie Ward has also been added to the team that beat Wigan.

Powell wants happy anniversary 2013.superleague.co.uk
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