Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell believes a strong start is the key if his team are to make it a hat-trick of top three scalps in Saturday’s game at Warrington Wolves.
After beating Hull and Wigan in the first two games in the Super 8s, the Tigers are up against another of the title challengers at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and will be out to continue their impressive run and much improved recent defending.
It could be a good time to play opponents Warrington when they are just a week away from the Challenge Cup final, but head coach Powell is gearing his side up to play a fully committed Wolves side and wants to make sure his players are pumped up for a big start to the afternoon game.
He told the Express: “In terms of whether it’s a good time to play them this week we’ve got to make sure it is.
“It’s just about our approach. It won’t happen itself. We’ve got to make it happen, we’ve got to start really well and put some little doubts in Warrington’s mind that this is going to be a tough afternoon and all the way through for 80 minutes.
“Sometimes mentally the cup final just makes you take your eye off it a little bit, but we’ve got to make that happen. It might not anyway, we’ve got to go there and play as if it is going to be 100 per cent Warrington.
“We’ve been able to beat them already this year at Magic Weekend when it has been 100 per cent Warrington and we need to do it again.”
Warrington handed the Tigers a lesson in their previous meeting, running out 42-26 winners at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, and Powell admits they will test Castleford’s defensive resolve.
Powell said: “I’ve watched our previous game with Warrington again this week and we conceded some really soft tries.
“They were really sharp about 10 minutes after half-time and got a couple of quick tries on us. We were in front at half-time and started the second half reasonably well before we fell away. We just need to be more consistent than that across the 80 minutes.
“We scored some good tries against them and we score good tries against most teams so we need to keep believing in ourselves.”
Powell has been impressed with Warrington this year, but also likes the way his own team has been going.
He added: “They’re a good side with good players across the field. Their half-backs have been good. Gidley’s been a real key anchor for them and a good organiser.
“They really challenge you with their ball movement and their physicality so we know we’re going to need to be good.
“But a lot of our players, like Greg Minikin and Ben Crooks in the centre, have really stood up and been really good defensively.
“We’ve scored some quality tries and obviously Denny Solomona has been finishing great as he has done all year and Rocky Hampshire is also finishing well on the edge.
“Our pack’s really getting after teams and we’ve got pretty smart half-backs so I’m really pleased with the team at the moment.”