Daryl Powell: Castleford Tigers will recover for play-offs

Daryl Powell
Powell took over at Castleford in May 2013 when the Tigers were 12th in the Super League table

Head coach Daryl Powell insists Castleford will not let the double blow of failing to win the League Leaders' Shield or the Challenge Cup final ruin their Super League title aspirations.

The Tigers' defeat by Catalan Dragons on Saturday denied them top spot, allowing St Helens to win the Shield.

Cas now face Saints on Friday for a place in the play-off semi-finals.

"We can't be derailed by something we didn't get," Powell, 49, told BBC's Super League Show.

"Obviously we were disappointed. We had an opportunity to do something really special as Castleford have never finished top of the competition.

Castleford's form ahead of play-offs
23 Aug: L 10-23 v Leeds (Challenge Cup final)
31 Aug: W 32-18 v Bradford (H)
7 Sep: W 26-22 v Wakefield (H)
13 Sep: L 6-28 v Catalans (A)

"I've recovered and am ready to go and the players will be ready to go on Friday night.

"The key thing now is that we have a fresh challenge and will focus on that. We have had 27 rounds and done a great job to get ourselves an opportunity by finishing in the top four.

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Leeds end Challenge Cup Final hoodoo

In his first full season in charge of Castleford, Powell has led Tigers to their first Challenge Cup final in 22 years and lifted the side from 12th place in Super League last season to fourth in the table.

"It has been an amazing achievement so far - we can't lose sight of that," added Powell.

"We have had a lot of new challenges for our players this year - the Challenge Cup final, finishing in a play-off position and now we have the play-offs. It will be an immense challenge but one that we will relish."

While Powell has been impressed with how his players dealt with their Challenge Cup final defeat by Leeds last month, winning two of their three Super League matches since, he said earning a week's rest with victory on Friday is a powerful motivator.

"Ask every team in the top four what their focus is and it will be winning this first game and getting the opportunity to put their feet up the second week and have a rest," said Powell.

"Particularly for teams that have played in the Challenge Cup final, it is always a difficult period just after that."

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