Head coach Daryl Powell is not worried about Castleford Tigers’ form going into the Betfred Super League play-offs tonight.
The Tigers were well off their standards in the 26-0 defeat at St Helens last Friday in their last game before they play Wigan Warriors in their semi-final at the DW Stadium.
But Powell admitted it had been difficult to motivate his players with nothing at stake in the Saints match and he expects to see a very different Cas team attitude-wise at Wigan.
He said: “I have been asked before if it has been difficult maintaining motivation over the Super 8s once we knew we were in the top four. I don’t think it has until last week. One game out from the semi-final I just got the sense the boys were just looking to next week.
“I think you saw that with Wigan (against Hull) as well. Their game was a little bit of a low-key affair and Lee Radford said something about trying to sell poor double-glazing to people who didn’t want it. You can’t always get what you want.
“I said to the boys on Sunday: ‘Listen, I’m not happy about it but I understand it.’
“It all rides on this now and we just have to deliver our best performance hopefully over the next two games. If we do that we’ll give ourselves a chance.
Powell was obviously disappointed with aspects of his side’s display at St Helens, but vowed the team would be right for the big one this week.
He said: “We started pretty well, but we just made too many errors and physically we got beat. We weren’t great in terms of our ruck control and the game was played at two different speeds.
“We’d been building well over the previous weeks, but it was just a poor performance. It’s one of them where you move on pretty quickly. There’s no point in dwelling on it.
“We just didn’t look anything like us and our attitude wasn’t what it needs to be.
“They were way too good for us, but we’ll be right this week. We’ll be in a good place. I’m pretty confident of that. We have to put it behind us, move on and make sure the team we know we can be turns up this week.”
Powell admits his side will have to play well to have any chance of reaching the final.
He added: “Bateman’s been outstanding. O’Loughlin hasn’t played that much has he? But when he does he’s a high quality player. They are a good side.
“You know what you’re going to get from them from an aggression perspective. That’s always the Wigan way.
“The Cas way is a little bit different, but we have to make sure the Cas way gets over the top of the Wigan way. We have to be smart to get that.”