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Powell honest about destructive COVID effect on his staff and players

COVID-19 has ushered in a terrible time for most rugby league teams, but Castleford seem to have been hit particularly hard by the virus.

But, for head coach Daryl Powell, the tough times are hopefully over despite his side been cut to ribbons.

“The boys are alright; Ryan Sheridan has actually been the hardest his – he’s just come back in and he’s lost a lot of weight,” Powell said.

“It’s rattled him, but the players seem to be alright – they’ve all come out of it ok, I thought we did well to win that last game week with how many players we had coming back.

“Even when all the symptoms have gone you still feel fatigued whenever you do anything and towards the back end of the game you were looking at players that were exhausted.”

Powell is keen for his side to move on and improve on their eighth-place spot that they currently occupy – starting at St Helens tonight.

“We’ve got a battle to get into the top six so we need to think about winning it more than them.

“Losing big games is always tough and we played so well for large periods of the game but it is what it is and there’s no point going after that too much.

“We know what we need to do to get into the six – I think we will need five wins from seven and then that depends on other teams’ results.

“The table looks really weird, Hull KR are on 14 points, Hull FC on 15 and then Leeds are on 16 and we’re on the same points as Hull KR which looks bizarre.”

Powell does have some good news on the injury front, with captain Michael Shenton’s facial injury not as bad as first thought.

“He’s got a specialist appointment tomorrow so I’m hoping he will play in the next couple of weeks.

“Initially it looked like six weeks but the chances are it will be sooner than that which is great news for him and for us.”

For Castleford, they haven’t won at St Helens since October 1990 and that is something Powell is keen to overcome in his last season as Tigers boss.

“I was talking about it, we went over there in 2017 in a friendly game and won and I did that to break that run, but we still haven’t won in the league!

“We need to believe we can compete with a team that is playing outstandingly well – we always have tough tussles with them and quality battles but we need to believe we can beat them and forget about anything that has happened in the past and focus on whatever happens now.”

Powell was impressed with Greg Eden on his return to the starting line-up against Leeds.

“He’s a regular choice when he’s fit he just needs to keep himself on the field.

“There’s a couple of errors here and there in Greg but he gets more than he gives way and I thought he did some class things last week.

“He’s got such speed and he can really finish when he gets the opportunity.”

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