CASTLEFORD Tigers are determined to put on a better show in front of the Sky TV cameras on Sunday after flopping on their last two appearances on the sports channel.
Terry Matterson’s men face a big challenge against in-form Huddersfield Giants, but have an extra incentive to do well after Sky Sports outings brought their heaviest defeats of the season against Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves.
Castleford’s reputation as a developing team capable of challenging the top clubs took a battering in both matches and they are eager to show they are a much better side than armchair viewers witnessed.
They do have a win over the Giants in a live TV game at the start of the season to recall and Matterson (pictured) sees Sunday’s clash at The Shay as a great opportunity to restore some pride as well as to record a rare double over a top four Super League club.
He told the Express: “It will be tough against Huddersfield this week, but I think we’re ready for it.
“This is probably the game we need at the moment. After a couple of wins in different circumstances you get confidence and want to test yourself against the better sides.
“We know we’re up against a really good team and that’s a challenge in itself. We want to show people that we are a better side than we were against Warrington and Leeds.
“We’re on TV and we’ve been really disappointed with the way we played the last twice on Sky so there’s a lot of reasons to play well.
“We don’t have to wonder can we beat them? We’ve beaten them the last twice and we always have really good games with Huddersfield so I can’t see any reason why it will be different on Sunday.
“If we play well we give ourselves a chance and that’s what we need to do. Huddersfield really challenge you all around the park, they have a good kicking game and a really big, aggressive pack of forwards. They’re strong everywhere and have a big squad as well even if they have some injuries.
“Whatever team we come up against this week we know they are playing with a lot of confidence. Even when they’re winning their coach hasn’t been happy so their standards are very high.”
Matterson believes that playing the game at Halifax, because of pitch repair work at Huddersfield’s Galpharm Stadium home, can benefit Castleford.
He said: “I would say I would prefer to play at The Shay than at their usual home ground at the Galpharm.
“There’s not normally a great atmosphere at the Galpharm, to be honest, so The Shay will be better in that respect.
“It will be more like the Probiz Coliseum. I think we’ll have a good crowd and our fans will certainly travel.”
With contrasting hard fought and runaway victories in their last two games against Wakefield and Harlequins, Matterson hopes confidence has been restored in the Tigers’ ranks, although he conceded that they would have to improve on both performances if they are to make it a hat-trick of wins.
He added: “The players should get some confidence from beating a Harlequins side we drew with only last month.
“We bombed four or five chances as well so to still come up with 54 points is good. Racking up some points after our previous two weeks when we were beaten 110 points to six is a step in the right direction.
“We are running the ball strongly. We are running hard, getting on the advantage line really well and playing the game fast – we’ve just got to hold our ball a little bit better.
“That’s an issue for us at the moment, we’re just coughing up way too much cheap ball.
“It was important to get a win against Harlequins and it was good on the attacking side, but it was disappointing defensively with 24 points scored against us.
“We gave up four soft tries. One off our kick, another with a poor defensive read down our left hand side and two through the middle. That’s disappointing, but from where we’ve been it was just good to win.
“We lapsed in concentration in the first half. We looked dominant then we would make a silly error, whether it be a dropped ball or not finding touch off a penalty kick, little things, and then they came back to score some soft tries.
“It was 22-18 at half-time and we were going into a very stiff wind in the second half. But I knew if we just sorted out a few things and controlled the ball we could make sure of the victory.
“There’s some things we’re working really hard at and we know we’ve got to be a lot better at against Huddersfield.”
Matterson had praise for several of his players, including four-try Rangi Chase, who went to the top of the Tigers scoring charts with his dazzling second half show against the visitors from London.
“Rangi got the plaudits for his tries, but I thought it was a much more controlled display from him and his kicking game was a lot better,” said Matterson.
“We’ve worked really hard on being better with our last play and we scored some tries off kicks with Rangi putting in some nice little grubber kicks.
“When we got on the front foot and Rangi carried the ball in the second half he was a real threat. But there’s got to be some credit to his team-mates by putting the team in the right positions for him to attack. They gave him the space to run.
“Jordan Thompson made an impact when he came on. I thought he really added some punch, some whack in his defence and he’s coming along nicely.
“He finished on the wing, but he has played in the forwards in the last two weeks and we see his future in the pack.
“He’s able to do a job out wide, which is a really good attribute, but he’s strong down the middle as well and he gives us a bit of steel. We’re just looking for some consistency from Jordan now.
“Dean Widders also helped get us on the front foot when he came off the bench and he is certainly running with some punch again.”