Coaches recognise special players and for Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell, he knows he has one in winger Kirk Dixon, who passed the 1,000 point mark, as the Tigers defeated the Bradford Bulls 36-18.
Powell admitted that his side may have become complacent during the game – the score went back and forth – but was quick to praise Bradford for their resolve.
“Obviously everybody expected us to win, and perhaps we did ourselves at the start,” he said.
“They came at us really committed and I don’t think we handled that too well.
“I think it took us 20 minutes to really put our foot on the ball, and as a result of that we just couldn’t seem to get into the game.
“It was a disappointing start, but we gradually fought our way back into it.
“I thought all our big men did well and gave us some direction.”
Dixon, who can now be considered a veteran at Castleford since joining in 2007, impressed coach Powell and he knows just how valuable the winger is to the side.
“Kirk’s the ultimate professional and works harder than anyone – he’s last out and he’ll even come in on his days off and kick goals,” he said.
“When you have someone who does that, they are great standard-bearers for the kind of culture we are trying to develop.
“He’s not the quickest or the strongest, but he’s unbelievably consistent and he’s very good at a lot of things – the way he goes about his business is very professional.”
For the Bulls, after performing well for the first hour of the game, coach Francis Cummins knows that his side just ran out of gas as the game wore on.
“We gave a few yardage errors,” he said.
“I thought there was a time when we were ready to go, but came up with those errors and they scored and that knocked us down a bit.
“We got fatigued because we gave the ball over too often on the first and second plays.
“But I’m proud because I felt that we were fully committed – you can’t fault the effort and that’s what you want.
“Cas can play good football, but we have to keep our concentration more. We gave it back to them too cheaply in the second half.”