Tigers still to discover top gear warns Wardle as Wakefield go ‘back to the drawing board’

Castleford second-row/centre, Joe Wardle.
Castleford second-row/centre, Joe Wardle.

CASTLEFORD TIGERS are in a “good place” after their derby win over Wakefield Trinity, Joe Wardle reckons, but he insists their best is yet to come.

Tigers bounced back from the previous week’s loss at Wigan Warriors with a 24-4 success at the Jungle, extending their winning streak against Trinity to 10 games. It wasn’t a vintage performance, in a scrappy game, but Wardle felt the two points were all-important.

Wakefield Trinity full-back, Max Jowitt.

Wakefield Trinity full-back, Max Jowitt.

“It’s just about knocking the points off and being consistent in what we’re doing,” he reflected. “We are still nowhere near playing the best rugby we can play. That’s obviously being dictated by the fields and stuff like that, but I think we are in a really good place at the minute. If we can just keep consistent and keep ticking over, the good things will come.”

Wardle admitted the victory three days ago was closer than the 20-point margin suggests.

“It was a tough game,” he said. “I’ll be honest, I don’t think the ref’ helped at all, there were penalties left, right and centre so it was a really slow game, but the boys dug deep. We had a good defensive effort and it showed.”

Tigers’ second-half performances have been a concern this year, but they out-scored Trinity 14-0 after the break.

“To be fair to Wakey, they came out at the beginning of that second half and really tested us,” Wardle added.

“We did well to dig deep and get back on top. I think that was all credit to Paul McShane and Jamie Ellis with their kicking game, they really got us back on the front foot.”

Wardle has played in four successive games after recovering from a hamstring injury and is pleased with the way things are going personally. He said: “It’s always nice to be playing. I don’t think [last Friday] was the best game, it wasn’t an outside-backs’ game, but it was nice to be out there with the boys and it’s another one ticked off for me coming back from injury.”

With Greg Eden, James Clare and Garry Lo all unavailable, Wardle shifted from second-row into the centres against Trinity.

“I have got the option to cover there and we are short on backs,” he said. “Ideally I want to play in the back-row, but if we need options I am there to help.”

Meanwhile, Trinity full-back Max Jowitt admitted Wakefield “could not have played any worse in the first half”, but felt there were some positives signs after the break. He said: “The effort was there, but it was disappointing to get a loss.”

Trinity could have levelled the scores when Jowitt touched down soon after half-time, but video referee Phil Bentham awarded Tigers a penalty for obstruction. Jowitt added: “It was 50-50. If that try had been awarded I think it could have turned the game and maybe pushed on and won.”

The 20-year-old was recalled in place of Scott Grix, but admitted to being “disappointed” with his own performance.

He said: “There was too much dropped ball in the first half. I picked it up in the second and that try would have boosted it a bit more, but we’re back to the drawing board on Monday.

“We’ll work on what went wrong and hopefully put a good performance in against Hull KR on Sunday.”