Daryl Powell expects water breaks with temperatures at Wembley set to hit 30s
Castleford coach Daryl Powell is expecting water breaks to be introduced for Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup final against St Helens as the teams brace themselves for temperatures around 30 degrees.
It was 26 degrees when the finalists had their captain’s runs at Wembley on Friday afternoon and the forecast is for it to get even warmer on the day of the game, with the temperature set to soar out in the middle.
“I would have thought so,” said Powell when asked about the prospect of water breaks. “Obviously the referees will be smart and decide what that looks like.
“I’ll speak to them tomorrow and see what they’re thinking but I’d imagine they’ll have it in their heads. It’s as hot as it gets over here.”
Castleford were the first team to try out the lush Wembley turf and conducted their warm-ups in the dressing room before walking out into the blazing sunshine.
“We did a bit of stretching inside,” Powell said. “It’s warm just walking about so the boys are going to have to be outstanding tomorrow.
“It’s the reason they do all the training, to be able to stand up to weather like this.
“It’s going to be challenging for both teams and the team that comes up with the best control in the game and manages the conditions the best will have a real good chance of winning the game.”
Powell, who rested 14 members of his Wembley line-up for last Sunday’s league game against Salford, is able to pick from strength, with Jake Trueman set to start alongside Gareth O’Brien in the halves.
Trueman, whose only appearance in the last two months was the semi-final against Warrington, was rated 70-30 at the start of the week to overcome a back problem and Powell confirmed he will play.
“He looks a bit closer to 100 now!” he said. “He’s trained well, he’s ready to go.
“It hasn’t been the ideal preparation for him but he’s a quality player and a tough player as well so he’ll handle it OK.”
Powell confirmed that Cheyse Blair and Danny Richardson have been omitted from his 21-man squad and suggested Alex Foster will also miss out but says he will not finalise his line-up until the day of the game.
Powell invited members of the last Castleford team to win the cup in 1986 to address his players in the build-up to the game.
“Yesterday John Joyner and Tony Marchant came down and gave us some good stories from that time,” he said.
“It was an unbelievable era in Castleford’s history with Malcolm Reilly coaching the team and some unbelievable players.
“It was absolutely awesome to see those guys come in and speak to the current players and give them some added motivation.”
Prop Liam Watts is the only Castleford player with a Challenge Cup winners’ medal, courtesy of his back-to-back success with Hull in 2016 and 2017.
He was also a loser with the Black and Whites in 2013 and says he used that defeat as extra motivation.
“Wembley is the best place to win but the worst to lose,” he said. “Watching the other team lift the trophy is sickening.
“I definitely call on those experiences more now, just trying to get in my head that I don’t want to feel like I did then.
“I’ve had a good chat this week about what sort of an occasion it is. It’s trying to pass on a bit about what it will be like and trying to keep calm heads.
“I’d give up the three I’ve played in to win it with Cas. It’s always different playing for your hometown club and it’s something the club and the fans need, as do I personally.”