Castleford Tigers half-back Jamie Ellis reckons his side need to be as clinical as St Helens were against them in last week’s Challenge Cup tie.
The 36-18 final score did not tell the full tale of a game in which the Tigers dominated possession and field position wise at times without being able to get their noses in front.
Breakaway tries had the Saints ahead at half-time and they continued to make the most of just about every opportunity to book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition at Castleford’s expense.
Although the Tigers scored three tries in the second half, Saints were more clinical on attack and Ellis admitted that is something that needs to be worked on ahead of Saturday’s Magic Weekend derby against Leeds Rhinos in Newcastle.
“We were scrappy with the ball, especially in the first half and I don’t think our kicking game was too good,” he said.
“That’s probably my fault, so it’s something to work on. We are out of the cup now and that’s disappointing, but we have to keep improving.
“It is a big month coming up for us now. We’ve got a big game on Saturday and we need to stick in it, especially with these injuries we’ve got. If we keep going and we’re in that top-four come the back end of the season when we get players back, we will give it our best.”
Ellis is hoping to keep his place in the side for a big Magic Weekend game against Leeds Rhinos that will give Cas a chance to quickly get over their cup disappointment.
He said: “It’s a massive game this week. We need the two points.
“Leeds have been playing pretty well. We just beat them at Elland Road last time and they are always decent games.
“We are going to train hard this week and, hopefully, get the two points.”
Ellis believes the Tigers were closer to the Betfred Super League leaders than the scoreline suggested last week.
He explained: “I think it was a good effort. We were the better team in the first half, but there were a few breakaway tries and they got away from us.
“We could have won if the bounce of the ball went our way and we were a bit better in parts. Everyone’s doing their jobs, we’ve just got to be a bit better.”
Ellis admitted that is “not ideal” to have key players missing, but Luke Gale’s absence with a fractured kneecap has given him an opportunity to establish himself in the starting side.
“Obviously I am enjoying the game time,” he added.
“I want to be playing every week. I need to get some consistency, keep working on my game.
“I was disappointed a bit (last week), but I’ll keep working hard in training and, hopefully, it will come. I have played Super League before and I know what it’s all about. I’ll keep working on combinations.
“It is hard when Galey’s out and Ben Roberts, but I’ve got Paul McShane and Jake Trueman to keep working with and, hopefully, we’ll do better than we did (last Saturday).”