Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell has called for his players to keep “cool heads” when they tackle their biggest game since last year’s Grand Final tomorrow night.
The Tigers are aiming to make it back to back appearances at English Rugby League’s biggest occasion, but must get past in-form Wigan Warriors at their DW Stadium fortress.
Having experienced the white hot atmosphere of a semi-final at their own ground in 2017 Powell and his players know what to expect and hope to have learned from their experiences last year.
Powell said: “There’ll be a fair bit of emotion flying about and it’s about cool heads for me. If we can keep ourselves nice and calm and play our game then we have every chance. We’re confident.
“We know it will be tough. They have won pretty much every game there so it is going to be a big challenge, but it doesn’t matter. None of what’s happened matters. It’s just about which players can deliver the best game on the night and hopefully it will be us.”
Powell reckons Castleford players have been handed extra motivation with all the attention being on Wigan in the build-up to the game and with a lack of Tigers representation in the Dream Team and Man of Steel nominations.
He said: “Everyone is talking about people leaving at Wigan and that sort of stuff but for us it doesn’t really matter does it? We just have to go and play well.
“We’ve had Jake Trueman nominated as Young Player of the Year but nothing else awards-wise. I think Paul McShane in particular can really look at that and be pretty disappointed, but we’ve had other top performers as well.
“It’s disappointing but you use everything you have got at your disposal.
“We’re third aren’t we? It’s interesting that we haven’t had any stand-out players but ended up third. It is what it is. Last year we had a whole heap of players in the awards and it’s disappointing I think for individual players. But then again it’s another motivation for me.”