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6th March 2019, 09:51 | Warrington

Ratchford confident Warrington will bounce back

Ratchford confident Warrington will bounce back

Warrington full-back Stefan Ratchford is confident the Wolves can bounce back from their first defeat of the season when leaders Castleford Tigers visit the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Thursday.

The Wolves made a flying start to their Betfred Super League campaign by winning their first three matches but came unstuck against Catalans Dragons in Perpignan last Saturday.

Castleford, on the other hand, maintained their 100 per cent record with victory over Hull KR and have a chance to open up a four-point lead over their hosts.

“It’s always a big game against Cas,” Ratchford said. “They’ve been improving enormously over the last five years or so and the last couple especially.

“The result in Catalan wasn’t ideal so we’ve got to get back on the horse against a quality Cas side and hopefully pick up the points so we don’t lose any more ground on them.

“There’s no panic whatsoever. We were way off our expectations on Saturday and it’s a matter of fixing some things up. We know what we’ve got to do.”

Castleford coach Daryl Powell is thrilled with his side’s impressive start to the season, which has been achieved despite a lengthy injury list, even though he was less than impressed with their display against Hull KR.

“I thought it was our worst performance of the season but I was delighted we got the two points,” Powell said.

“We’re in a good place, especially with a couple of teams getting knocked over last weekend.

“We had been pretty much written off at the start of the season by a lot of people for not signing players but we’re four from four and I’m delighted where we’re at.

“We’ve an horrendous injury list but that’s something we’ve had to deal with over the last few years so we’ve not made a song and dance about it.

“The players have shown they can handle it, Jacques O’Neill came in and did a great job last week and Tuoyo Egodo has had a couple of stints and handled things pretty well.

“It’s why you have a squad, it generally gives an opportunity to the younger players to show whether they can compete at Super League level and those two guys have shown they can.”

Meanwhile, Ratchford says the return of the Great Britain team and with it an end-of-season tour to the southern hemisphere will provide plenty of incentive for players to catch the selectors’ eyes.

Ratchford has been an England regular under Wayne Bennett and would love to be part of his Lions squad.

“That would be immense,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to go on an England tour to Australia but, growing up, Great Britain was the pinnacle.

“To see that tour announced is absolutely fantastic news and there’s going to be a lot of players eligible for it.

“I’m not sure how many players they are taking but everyone is going to have to up their game and really perform well to be in with a chance of getting on that tour.”