Castleford Tigers have been set the challenge of earning a home semi-final in the end of season Betfred Super League play-offs.
After describing their third place finish in the regular season as “awesome” Tigers boss Daryl Powell now wants the team to climb a place higher as a second spot at the end of the Super 8s would give Castleford a semi-final on the Mend-A-Hose Jungle ground, as they had last year. He said: “Third after 23 rounds is an awesome effort from everyone when you look at what’s happened to us injury-wise.
“I’m really pleased, we get a breather now due to being out of the cup, but then it’s into the Super 8s. The target is clear – we want a home semi-final.
“I still think there’s loads to come from us, collectively and individually.
“We’ll get some players back, hopefully, over the next three or four weeks and have a real crack at getting some consistency as a team.
“That will give us a great chance of getting into the top four and being in a good position to go on and get into the Grand Final. Everybody’s after that at the start of the season.
“We could be in a better place, we could be where St Helens are, but we are in a great place.”
Castleford will have four home games and three away games in the Super 8s by virtue of their top four finish in the first part of the season. They will face Warrington Wolves, Huddersfield Giants, Wakefield Trinity and Catalans Dragons at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle and travel to play St Helens, Wigan and Hull.
Cas go into the Super 8s eight points clear of fifth-placed Huddersfield so three more wins if one of them us against the Giants will clinch a play-off place.
Looking upwards, the Tigers are one point behind second-placed Wigan, making their top two aim achievable with further good performances.
Cas ended the regular season with a 52-24 win at Widnes and some glimpses of what they are capable of.
“We scored four tries in seven minutes and that flipped the game,” added Powell.
“The bench came on and did an awesome job and overall it was a great win for us.
“We didn’t start great and didn’t finish great, but in between I thought there was some outstanding rugby league played.”