Daryl Powell reserved praise for one of the club’s close-season signings following Boxing Day’s pre-season defeat to Bradford.

Powell named a Castleford side that featured several new additions but made several changes at the break to hand opportunities to the club’s younger players.

The Tigers boss drew plenty of positives from the game, despite a 14-20 defeat, and picked out new signing Tyla Hepi as the star of the show.

He said: “I thought Danny Richardson was pretty good. His kicking game was pretty good, but I thought we lacked a little bit of depth in attack and were easy to shut down.

Article continues below the advert

“Danny fitted in really well and I thought he was good, while Derrell Olpherts was exceptionally strong and they struggled to handle him.

“But the stand-out for me was Tyla Hepi, who I thought was really, really good. Him and Dan Smith in the middle were superb.

“Tyla really put a marker down for himself today, which I know he was keen to do.”

Powell was also encouraged by the performances of several young players.

“The most positive thing to come out of it was how outstanding some of the new signings were in the first half and then in the second half how a very, very young team handled a big physical team like Bradford.

“I think especially in the middle, when they had two front rowers who’ve played Super League consistently, some of our boys have only got first-year Academy experience and they handled it really well.

“Cain Robb is such a young player, only 16, and a hooker, and I probably left him out there too long. 

“He was involved in the last try that won Bradford the game, but I thought he was fantastic and some of the instinct he showed was outstanding.

“Lewis Peachey was very strong, he carried the ball really well. Defensively he put his shoulder in and belted a few of their bigger guys.

“Those two in particular, from the young fellas, did really well.

“You never want to lose a game obviously but, ultimately, it was about getting the new boys out there, the ones that played, and seeing the new kids, so lots of positives to take from the contest in that regard.”

Powell added: “Some of them haven’t played against men, and that’s been a detriment to our sport, but today gave them a look at the physicality that they needed.

“You were looking at a Reserves team in the second half and it’s a taste of what we’ll have next year. I’ll be a strong team that people will want to come and watch.

“Guys that don’t get selected in the first team will play in that team as well, so when you add that quality, you have a pretty good team in there.”

The Tigers now turn their attentions to pre-season fixtures against Widnes and Toronto, before opening their Super League campaign against the Wolfpack at Headingley.

He said: “Everybody will get to play in the games against Widnes and Toronto.

“I’m getting to know in my head who’ll play in our first Super League game and those decisions will be batted out over the next two games.

“Junior Moors, Liam Watts, Alex Foster, Matt Cook and Mike McMeeken are still sidelined for the time being, and Nathan Massey is still coming back.

“Some of those will be coming back ahead of the season and it’s just something we need to keep monitoring.”