Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell insists there is still all to play for when his side takes to the field for the final regular season game at home to Warrington Wolves on Sunday.
Resigned to finishing fifth in the regular season they may be with Huddersfield Giants still ahead of them on points difference and a final game to play against bottom of the table Wakefield, but Powell wants the Tigers to take the chance to give themselves a boost for the forthcoming Super Eights.
With points from the regular season carried over it is still all about finishing in the top four in the next phase of the campaign to earn a play-off place and the Cas head coach believes a win over the Wolves would put a marker down that they can be contenders again.
He told the Express: “The points are crucial, this is a big game for us and it will give us a bit of a taster of what it’s going to be like in the Super Eights.
“Whether we will get fourth or not (in the regular season), which looks unlikely now, the points are important moving forward.
“We want to keep pressure on Huddersfield in fourth going into the Super Eights.
“We have another seven games after this one then you are moving into the play-offs and we want to be part of that.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge, no doubt about that. You are playing against the top eight teams every week, but we are capable of doing it.
“We need to tidy up a couple of bits and pieces defensively, but we’re looking good with the ball at the moment.
“It would be a boost to go six points ahead of Warrington, but we are more about looking up than down.
“Reeling Huddersfield in and staying close to the top four pack is really important. That’s the key because we want to be in that top four.
“Previously you might have looked down and been a bit wary about what was going on, but now it’s about looking up and focusing on improving every week and delivering performances that can beat the better sides.”
Cas are looking to complete a rare double over Warrington after beating them at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Powell said: “Warrington have become a really difficult team to beat in the last few years so it would be a good achievement to beat them twice this year.
“We did a good job on them at home last year then we lost away and they beat us at Castleford in the play-offs. But we’ve got a good opportunity.
“Obviously we’ve got to play them again in the Super Eights, probably at home looking at the way the competition is, so it would be good to put a marker down for ourselves.
“This is a key game. They’ve got the Challenge Cup semi-final the week after and we’d like to think we can really get after them and get a result.
“It will be tough, they are in a bit of form recently and look like they are playing a fair bit better. They’ll be a real challenge for us.”