Castleford Tigers centre Ben Crooks has not written off his side’s chances in the Super Eights despite their defeat to Warrington Wolves.
Crooks believes that the Tigers have the attacking game to take on the seven other best teams in the competition when the Super League splits for the second part of the season.
But he admitted they will have to improve their defence after conceding seven tries against Warrington.
He said: “We’ve proved all year we can score tries, but our big downfall at the minute is conceding them.
“We spoke at half-time and said we can’t give them anything and if we do they are going to come straight through us and score a lot of points.
“We had wide spacings in the middle and we talked about tightening them up and if we didn’t do that they were going to come straight through us.
“We failed to do that and that’s exactly what they did to us.
“You give a team like Warrington that many quick play-the-balls and you have people like Daz Clark and Brad Dwyer coming out of dummy-half and Stefan Ratchford and Matty Russell on the back of that, you are dealing with quick ones and it’s going to get ridiculously fast.
“That’s what happened and they tore us apart in the end.”
Cas scored six tries themselves against full strength opponents who are only one point off the top so there were positives for Crooks to reflect on.
He said: “We’ve done that a few times. We can score enough tries to win any game, but at the minute we’re just not backing that up with our defence.
“We’ve conceded the most points this year and that’s something we have really got to fix up going into the Wakefield game and the Super Eights.
“It’s something we need to address and we’ll work on this week.
“There’s still that belief there that we can do something in the Super Eights and we can still create something special.
“We have got to take that belief and that trust and honesty from within each other and we’ve got to work really hard now, because we’ve made it difficult for ourselves.”
Crooks is expecting a tough game in the last of the regular season matches at Wakefield on Sunday.
He added: “They are playing some good rugby at the minute.
“They have got the confidence that comes off the back of some really good wins. They had a good result against Catalans at the weekend and it’s going to be a really tough game going into the eights.”