19th October 2018, 13:00 | Castleford
Castleford Tigers have become a completely different proposition under Powell’s tutelage, replacing years straddling the play-off line with two years of attacking Rugby and tremendous results. They achieved back to back play-off appearances for the first time since 2000, but ultimately finished the season with heartbreak, losing to Wigan Warriors in the semi-final.
Best Moment: Castleford’s Jake Trueman announced himself on the Super League scene with a swashbuckling 38-10 victory over rivals Leeds Rhinos at Magic Weekend in Round 15. In front of a crowd of 38,881, the Tigers sprinkled fairy dust on the Magic Weekend with tries from Alex Foster, Jy Hitchcox, Oliver Holmes, Adam Milner, Junior Moors and Michael Shenton.
Best Win (Warrington Wolves 30-34 Castleford Tigers): A game Daryl Powell called it one of the best wins of his coaching career, the 34-30 end-to-end battle with the Wolves was one of Super League’s best contests in 2018. After racing to a 12-0 lead, the Tigers were resolute in defence and had class in attack to sneak away from Lancashire with the 2 points.
🏆| What a great year it has been so far for the Tigers first team! Our 1st, 2nd and 3rd place Player of the Year award winners were well deserved!— Castleford Tigers (@CTRLFC) October 1, 2018
🥇 - @mcshane_paul
🥈 - @JT6Trueman
🥉 - @G_Millington_ pic.twitter.com/MihyeguBrJ
Best Player (Paul McShane): Paul McShane is the standard bearer for the modern hooker. He’s the lynchpin in defence and the metronome in attack, pushing the Tigers forward and maintaining the defensive line. His 1160 tackles in 2018 were a career best and his 27 try-assists were the second most in Super League.
Record Breakers: 2018 saw the records tumble for the Tigers, with Greg Eden touching down for his 100th career try, Nathan Massey making his 200th appearance for Castleford, Paul McShane making his 100th appearance for Castleford, and Mike McMeeken making his 100th appearance for Castleford.
Worst Loss (Wigan Warriors 14-0 Castleford Tigers): To go out in the semi-final is always a terrible way to bow out, but the manner in which Castleford lost, not registering a single point, put a significant question mark over their ability to compete in big games.
Best Quote: “We talked about giving the species half their money back I think, because we’re not giving them 40 minutes of value at the moment” – Daryl Powell on his sides second-half syndrome after the Tigers crawled to a 40-28 win after being 28-6 up at half time against Huddersfield.
2019 Outlook: The Tigers are a team on the up, with a young axis of attacking talent, efficient defence and a swashbuckling style. The disappointment at defeat in the semi-final shows how far the Tigers have come under Powell’s guidance. Top five is now a minimum, and the Tigers will be looking to make a run deep into the playoff series.