Powell relishes exciting opener

01 February 2018 05:20:21 EST

Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell is expecting another tough test in their opening fixture of the new Super League season at St Helens on Friday.

The new campaign starts on Thursday evening with Warrington Wolves facing Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC hosting Huddersfield Giants. Warrington are 8/15 to beat Leeds.

Friday's meeting between the Tigers and Saints is a repeat of last year's play-off semi-final, which Castleford won in dramatic circumstances. Castleford are 6/5 to beat St Helens again on Friday and 10/3 to win the Grand Final this year.

"We've have had a couple of late wins down here against them, we beat them with drop-goals twice. They were great games and there's been others against Saints. They play in a certain way, which is attractive to the eye and difficult to defend against," said Powell, whose side dominated the regular season in 2017, but were beaten by Leeds Rhinos in the Grand Final.

"I went to watch Saints last Friday against Leigh and they are doing some smart things with the ball. They are certainly going to put you under pressure and Ben Barba round the back is very dangerous and very different because of the way he runs.

"But I look at us and I think we're the same. I think we're dangerous all across the field. We've got an embedded way of playing that people are comfortable with and we are in a good place. We are ready now."

Salford face Wigan and Hull KR take on Wakefield in Friday's other Super League fixtures.

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