David Clegg Meets With Head Coach, Ian Watson, Prior To Our Top Of The Table Clash With Castleford
There will have been few, outside the immediate group of each club, who, upon first perusal of the season’s fixtures, would have expected either of tomorrow night’s high flyers to have been in the top four by this time in the season, let alone the both of them competing in a top four encounter.
That, however, is just what tomorrow night’s televised fixture at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle has turned out to be, but, while Castleford, this season, would appear to be almost invincible at home, having won every home encounter convincingly even racking up 54 points against Wigan and 66 against Leeds, it must also be remembered that one of the few teams to have won there, last season, was Salford.
Head Coach, Ian Watson, remembers the occasion quite clearly.
“We gave a really good performance over there, last year, and got the result,” he recalls.  “We are a confident group and not concerned in any respect about whosoever we are playing.
“Tomorrow is all about us going to Castleford and fixing something that went wrong for us last week, and doing that will, hopefully, help us pick up another victory there.”
Although the Tigers would appear to be sitting comfortably at the top of the table, with a further seven fixtures in the offing, come August, they will be extremely keen to pick up every remaining point they can, in order to give themselves some cushioning ahead of the Super 8s.
“They are looking a Champion team,” Ian agrees, “and anyone who wants to be such has to make sure they are up for every game, because you know the opposition is going to come to try and knock you down, just as we are going there to try to get the victory.
“The focus for us is more about us and learning from last week, while Castleford will have their own ideas of what they want to fix up from last week’s tough match at Wakefield.”
It has been said that that Wakefield performance provided other teams with a blueprint of how to deal with the Tigers, but Ian, quite rightly points out that any blueprint had been provided by the Red Devils, back in March, when we became the first team to beat them.
“We performed really well that day and did everything we should, and then continued to do so every week immediately following it,” he reminds us.  “We have prided ourselves on our performances throughout the season, particularly in what each player can do for the team, and they are each fully aware of the importance of that.”
In facing a team containing the quality and showing the fine form of the likes of Luke Gale, Mike McMeeken, and our own former fullback Greg Eden, there will be much with which to contend from our hosts.
“They have talent all over the park,” Ian concedes, “but that’s the same with every team you play against.  They, in return, are all equally concerned with the talent we have within our ranks, and so it becomes a case of who puts on the better performance on the day, because they will come out on top.”
As Ian alludes to above, last week Leeds succeeded in getting the better of his charges with a turbo-charged performance of slick handling which at times seemed quite mesmeric, and with the foreknowledge that Castleford play in much the same manner there will have to be a significant turnaround from then.
“We normally control that pretty well, and are well versed in our processes for doing so, but last week Leeds got the better of us and dictated the speed with which they were comfortable and we were not,” he acknowledges.
“As a group, throughout the season, we have always learned from our experiences and always come back stronger.  We have spoken about it all during the week and we know we will be better tomorrow.  They are a good group of players and we will fix up what went wrong, last week, because I am sure they will respond in the right way.”
Referee – Mr P Bentham
Touch Judges –J Roberts,  M Craven
Video Red – B Thaler
Reserve Ref – G Dolan
Reserve TJ – A Gill