NATHAN Brown has been impressed with Castleford Tigers as they continue their good start to the First Utility Super League campaign.
Daryl Powell’s side lie two points behind Saints on the ladder with six wins from their seven matches to date.
“The style of footy Castleford are playing is really good,” Brown said. “When Daryl coached Featherstone and they had a good cup run you could see how good a coach he was. The way he used his players was superb. It doesn’t surprise to see me how well they are playing.
“They are where they are through playing good football and the more you watch them the more you understand why. They’ve replaced Rangi Chase with a lot of depth to the team and brought players in who play with a little more structured. There’s no fluke to their position and if they keep their players fit then I don’t think their position on the table will vary. I have no doubt at all.”
Saints came through a tough Challenge Cup tie with Huddersfield with a number of bumps and bruises and Brown admits some players may need a week off.
“We carried some blokes into the game who hadn’t played for a while and the team will be different this week,” he added. “No one who played has made anything worse but some may need a week off to get fit again. Luke Walsh came through really well; some came through really good and some came through probably as you would expect.
“It’s a big game for us if you look at where Cas are on the table. They are playing terrific footy and Daryl has them going really well. Obviously we have a cup game with Leeds coming up and we can’t afford to break any players. Ideally, we’d like everyone who played last week to be out on the field plus another one or two that could possibly return.
“But the reality is we are coming into Easter and it is a busy time for us. The RFL have done lots of great things with the World Cup and the TV deal but I think the pumpkins were on when it came to scheduling the second round of the cup after Easter.
“Either Easter Monday isn’t an important game or the Cup isn’t. There is a lot of pressure on teams, coaches and player welfare. Wigan drew Hunslet, but Saints and Leeds get each other and the reality is it is the biggest game of the year. I really don’t see the common sense in the timing there. It is the worst possible time to pick it. It is no different for Leeds though. An unlucky Easter can ruin the chance of the good Challenge Cup. We will what’s available and see where we are at.”
Brown revealed that new signing Richard Beaumont is struggling with a groin problem and it’s hard to predict when he will make his bow.
“Things aren’t going as well as he would like and we would like,” he added. “We will keep working away and get to the bottom of it. Ideally he would be playing now; it is the time of the year everyone plays.
“He had a good year last year and have really big hopes for him. At the end of the day its abut him getting better and then getting playing, There is no time frame on him at the moment.
“Gary Wheeler is fit to play and it is a case of him getting an opportunity whilst Jonny Lomax pulled through quite well – in better shape than he was the week before.”