Wire fan and author Rob Watson – aka 'Spirit of 55' – gives his view on Saturday's Challenge Cup semi-final disappointment...

SPORT is about exposing your opponent’s weaknesses whilst nullifying their strengths.

Castleford were exceptional at both, while Wire managed to highlight some of their own weaknesses and could not cope with Cas’ strengths. It was a bad time to have an horrendous day.

Castleford were excellent when attacking Wire’s try line – it was like they were mocking them with their brilliance as it highlighted just how poor Wire are at that aspect of the game.

After a couple of plays to get into a good position, Cas would sweep the ball out wide with lead runners, options out the back and strike players out wide all moving with the fluency and cohesion that Wire fans have seldom seen from their own team since the days of Briers and Hodgson.

For the last few years, the Tigers have always had a strong preference for attacking down their left, especially when close to their opponents’ line.

Whoever plays left wing for them always has a good chance of finishing high up the top try scorers list.

Unfortunately for Wire, that Cas strength was going up against their own weakness on the right edge of defence. On this occasion the Castleford left edge was close to its best and Wire’s right side close to its worse defensively.

That resulted in a try looking likely every time Castleford attacked.

It was not only on the right that Wire looked vulnerable – at times this season Wire’s defence had looked like it is the strength of the team, but too often over the last few weeks it has looked soft.

The whole game could easily be described as a microcosm of Wire’s season. Along with the weaknesses being exposed, it was their strength of individuals running good lines and making breaks that got them on the scoreboard and almost back into the game during the second half.

Their other attacking strength of quick play the balls and Daryl Clark running off the back of them was something that Castleford were able to nullify almost throughout the game.

It looked like Cas had a clear game plan both in attack and defence and even more importantly that every single player had bought into it.

By contrast, from the outside looking in it is always difficult to spot any game plan Wire have, apart from high kicks aimed at Toby King when close to the try line.

All too often as well, the Wire players do not all look like they are on the same wavelength.

An example of that came midway through the second half. With the big comeback still tantalisingly possible, Currie threw a pass into touch that looked appalling but had Lineham been on the same wavelength then he would have been pushed up and that same pass could have sent him away down the touchline and the comeback could have continued.

Whether the pass or the winger is to blame is not the issue, it is one small instance of the players not singing from the same hymn sheet.

Whenever a coach announces that he is leaving a team then it can have a positive or negative impact on the team.

On the evidence of this semi-final, Daryl Powell has been able to bring his troops together and galvanise them in an attempt to win a trophy in their last season together.

It appears that sadly, Steve Price leaving is not having that same impact – instead it looks more like it has caused a disconnect between the players and the coaches.

Hopefully they can prove that impression spectacularly wrong and Price can still motivate this team into giving him an unlikely and glorious farewell present.