John Kear: Castleford Tigers' 'unsung heroes stepped up'
Castleford's "unsung heroes" have stepped up to cover the loss of key players and helped restore 2014 form, says former Tiger John Kear.
Coach Daryl Powell saw players such as Craig Huby, Daryl Clark and Weller Hauraki exit last winter having helped Cas to a top-four Super League spot.
Existing players Grant Millington, Adam Milner and Nathan Massey have impressed for the sixth-placed side since.
Kear told the Super League Show: "Lads like Massey have been unsung heroes."
The Batley boss added: "He's everything you need from a rough, tough forward and he's really developing as a player.
"He does the job of the forwards to take team forward and set up points on the field for the half-backs to play."
Clark, with his quick scoots from dummy-half and distribution, was a major component of Castleford's league improvement in 2014 and run to the Challenge Cup final.
His move to Warrington saw Scott Moore brought in from London, while understudy Milner has enjoyed more gametime in 2015.
"Milner has been sensational," said Kear.
"He's said 'I'll step up and I'll prove to everybody else how good I am'. He's a former England academy captain, so he is a good player."
Salford coach Iestyn Harris, who signed Hauraki for this season, had firsthand experience of the Tigers' return to form when his side were beaten 30-16 last month.
However, it is at Wheldon Road that Cas have been most effective, picking up four of their five victories on their own patch.
"They're extremely good at home. They've got a small pitch and they play it perfectly well, bomb [kick high] into the corners and make it extremely difficult for you to get out," said Harris.
"They're playing well with a good pack of forwards, they're getting used to each other now and they're difficult to play against."