Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell believes his side can bounce back from last weekend’s big disappointment with a big display at St Helens tonight as they set out in the Super League play-offs.
Despite missing out in their quest for a first-ever top of the table finish Powell says the Tigers will be fit and ready to go for a fresh challenge with another huge prize in sight.
After finishing in fourth spot – their highest since the start of Super League – Cas know that two more wins in their next two matches could now see them through to Old Trafford for the Grand Final and victory at leaders’ shield winners St Helens carries the extra bonus of a well earned week off to recharge the batteries after the exertions of the last few weeks.
Defeat and the Tigers will still stay in the play-offs, but will face a knockout game the following week at home. Powell, though is understandably not looking beyond tomorrow night’s game at Langtree Park.
He said: “We were obviously disappointed on Saturday. We had an opportunity to do something special as Castleford had never finished top of the competition.
“But straight after I said to the players we have finished fourth and it’s been an amazing achievement so far, we can’t lose sight of that. It’s important we don’t get derailed by something that we didn’t quite get.
“I think the players are okay, I’m recovered and we’ll be ready to go for the next challenge.
“It’s difficult for players to keep getting themselves up when they don’t get a breather here and there. But I think it’s a fresh challenge now, it’s going to be an outstanding opportunity for us and I think it’s something we’ll relish.
“St Helens away is a tough job, but that’s what play-offs are about. We need to go with some confidence and go there and play.
“Obviously top four has been a great effort and to finish just two points off the top has been an outstanding first 27 rounds of competition. But we’ve got an opportunity now against St Helens knowing that if we can get a win we can have a breather next week – and we’ve not had any of them this year so it will be manna from heaven I suppose.”
Powell does not expect to make many changes to his team.
He added: “We didn’t pick up any new injuries from last week.
“Grant Millington and Craig Huby came through last week pretty well so they should be available again and that is a big plus.
“I thought both were excellent, they were very strong, played big minutes and it will stand them in good stead for the play-offs. It was important they played last week.
“There’s potential for one or two changes this week, but there’s not going to be many.”