Castleford star: Previous results have no bearing on final

Jesse Sene-Lefao in action for Castleford Tigers this season.
Jesse Sene-Lefao in action for Castleford Tigers this season.

WHAT HAS happened previously this season will count for nothing in Saturday’s Betfred Super League Grand Final, according to Castleford Tigers’ influential forward Jesse Sene-Lefao.

Tigers have been the best team all year, finishing 10 points clear on the league table. They have beaten this week’s opponents Leeds Rhinos four times and have the league leaders’ shield in their trophy cabinet, but Sene-Lefao insisted: “We’re not looking at that.”

He insisted: “It [the league campaign] is all done now. We have enjoyed that time and now we are ready for the big one on Saturday.

“Leeds are a very good team and we have got to play our absolute best to beat them.

“They are in very good form and it is going to be a big challenge for us.”

Rhinos’ forwards dominated against Hull in last Friday’s semi-final and that is a war Tigers will have to win in two days’ time.

“It is always a battle up front when we play Leeds,” Sene-Lefao said.

“We have a lot of respect for their front-rowers, we know they are going to come hard at us and we have got to meet the challenge.

“That’s what makes it exciting - that’s what makes Grand Finals.”

The 27-year-old Samoan international also reckons Leeds’ backline can damage Tigers if they hit their stride.

“They can attack from anywhere,” he warned. “They’ve got Kallum Watkins and Danny McGuire is on fire at the moment, so there’s strike power all over the field.

“Cuthbo [Adam Cuthbertson] is playing out of his skin, like he’s 21 again. We have got to make sure our game’s tight and we do the little things right, then we’ll see what happens at the weekend.”

Tigers are low on Grand Final experience, but Sene-Lefao - who joined them at the end of last season from Australian side Cronulla Sharks - has had a taste of the big occasion.

He did not play when Sharks won the 2016 NRL title decider, but said: “I have experienced the week of a Grand Final.

“Also when I was at Manly I missed out on the 2013 Grand Final that they lost.

“There is a difference, I know the winning feeling and the losing one.

“I know how to adapt myself this week and one thing I know for sure is you have to enjoy the week and enjoy the experience.”

Jesse stressed that Tigers need to make the most of their Grand Final debut, whatever happens on Saturday evening.

Tigers’ entire squad visited Old Trafford on Monday and Sene-Lefao said: “A lot of people talk about the stadium and I was excited to see what the place is about.

“It has definitely lived up to expectations – it is a bit like Cas, the changing rooms and the ground! It was good to get down on the field and get a feel for the place. We are excited for this week and embracing everything that comes each and every day.