Keiron Cunningham: Physicality is key for Saints to beat Castleford

St Helens
St Helens bounced back from their World Club Series defeat by Sydney Roostyers to beat Hull KR

St Helens head coach Keiron Cunningham says his side will need to improve their physicality in order to beat Castleford Tigers.

Saints were thrashed 38-12 by Sydney Roosters in the World Club Series, but came from behind to beat Hull KR 31-22.

"We've got to get the physical aspect right. People were saying [beating Hull KR] was a bit of a scratchy victory," he told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"If we're better with the ball against Castleford, we'll be in with a shout."

Castleford are unbeaten in their opening three Super League games this season and Cunningham believes they will be a tough side to overcome.

"They have got all the credentials of being involved in every trophy and semi-finals, maybe some finals coming forward, " he said.

"They're a fantastic side who are improving every year under a great coach.

"Castleford play some really entertaining rugby and they're a very good footballing side who promote the football a lot. We'll have to defend well this week."

After scoring 31 points away from home in their victory against Hull KR, Cunningham says his side's ability on the attack gives him extra strength in depth with more players challenging for places.

"Being a good attacking side, you're always going to have plenty of options," he added.

"We've got some guys standing in the wings who are chomping at the bit and desperate for a game. We like to rotate the squad, especially some of the juniors."

Saints have been boosted by the early-season impact of full-back Shannon McDonnell, who missed much of last campaign with an Achilles injury sustained when the side faced Castleford last summer.

"He's a great super full back player and supports everything but he's there to pick up the spoils and that's what every good full back should do," added Cunningham.

"It seems like a long time between knocks for him, so he's done a good job."

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