Castleford keen to give fans winning send-off at home

Nathan Massey, in action here in a previous game against St Helens, but unable to play against them tonight because of injury.
Nathan Massey, in action here in a previous game against St Helens, but unable to play against them tonight because of injury.

Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell wants his side to sign off at home with a big display against top four rivals St Helens tonight.

Whether or not the Tigers sneak into a top four place the Saints game will be the last of the season at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle and Powell is keen to reward supporters with a winning send-off.

He said: Our supporters have been superb this year and really got behind us.

“I thought they were great again at Huddersfield last week and it will be it will be good if we can reward them by signing off at home this year with a win against a top team like St Helens.

“We’ve enjoyed some good games at home this year. My wife said to me we always seem to be in exciting, close matches and there never seems to be any easy ones.

“There’s been some tight games and it’s great we’ve come through well. I’m proud that the players have put us into this position now of being so close to the play-offs.”

Powell admits Castleford are in the last chance saloon if they are to achieve their play-off aim, but defiantly put forward reasons the team can still beat St Helens then go on to beat Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors in their last two matches.

He said: “If we don’t win then we won’t be in the top four, it’s as simple as that.

“The challenge is a tough one, there’s no question, but we have to start reeling in one of the teams above us. It is a defining moment in our season.

“We’ve beaten all the sides we’re playing against. We beat Leeds away this year and we beat Wigan away a couple of times in the last couple of years. St Helens we beat last time them down here.

“We can do it, the challenge is to do it now under pressure.

“If you want to be in the top four at the end of the season you’ve got to be able to win games like these.

“We’re getting more experience of playing in these kind of games now and we’ve got to come out the other side in more of them.

“When you know you can beat a side it helps. We’ve put Saints under pressure a fair bit over the last two years, especially down here, but until the last game we couldn’t quite get over the line.

“It does give you confidence when you know you can beat the better sides in the comp.

“St Helens will start as favourites, no doubt about that, they’re a tough side to beat, but we have got to show our battling qualities and have more than St Helens have.”

Castleford have been boosted for their run-in by the return to training of injured centre Michael Shenton and back row forward Oliver Holmes, who missed the 40-26 defeat to Huddersfield through illness.

But forward Nathan Massey looks to have played his last game of the year because of a wrist injury and it is the same story with centre Jake Webster, who has nerve damage.

Cas will also still be without Justin Carney because of his suspension as an internal investigation goes on and Matt Cook will miss the game after picking up a one match ban for a for a Grade B reckless strike on Luke Robinson in the second half of last week’s defeat at Huddersfield..

Powell explained: “Nathan’s got a serious problem with his wrist and chances are he’s going to need an operation .

“He’s had an ongoing wrist problem and he’s been having pain-killers for the last couple of months, but it’s got to the point when he’s struggling even with pain-killers. His other wrist locked up last week and he couldn’t tackle.”

“In terms of players back I think Oli Holmes, who was ill last week, and Michael Shenton should be available. Obviously that will strengthen us a fair bit.

“Michael Shenton trained well on Monday. It was the first he’s done in terms of contact and he did everything. He’s a durable character who comes back unbelievably well from injury. He came back quickly the last time from a shoulder injury and didn’t have any problems.”