Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell has warned his players they will be challenged by a fired up Wakefield Wildcats side in tonight’s final derby of the season at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
After playing well as underdogs in their first three Super 8s games, Powell acknowledged that the Tigers are favourites this time against a Wakefield team they have already beaten twice in 2016.
The Wildcats have lost all three of their Super 8s games, but the Tigers head coach reckons they will target tonight’s game as a big prize to try to get back some of the bragging rights they have lost to Castleford this year.
Powell told the Express: “I’m expecting a pretty fiery game. The news coming out of Wakefield is that they see this as a game they need to win so they will have a bit of an edge about them.
“For us it’s starting the game in the same way and the same mentality we’ve had for the last three matches.
“They’ve got people like Scott Moore in there, players with a bit of an edge to the way they defend. He likes to get out of the blocks and rattle people so we need to be aware of some of the things that are in there.
“I think there will be a little bit of a spark in there and so there should be. It’s a local derby and both teams will be keen to win it.
“I think they’ll be coming out with a bit of an edge to them and they’ll be looking to see where we’re at. We have spoken about that and about meeting the challenge head on and making sure it’s about us and how we approach the game.
“We played them just before the Challenge Cup semi-final and that was a tough game for them. We rattled them a little bit and they got a couple of injuries from our game.
“Since then they’ve had quite a few players injured and then it becomes really difficult. But you would expect them to be up for this game and we are not going in there expecting anything other than a tough challenge from Wakefield.”
Powell is aware of how important the game is to Cas fans, who can celebrate a derby clean sweep with a victory.
He said: “Leeds and Wakefield are games you want to win and the fans see these as absolutely massive.
“I speak to people all the time and they work with supporters of the other sides. That’s where it all comes from, they go in there on a Monday and want to have the bragging rights so we want to make sure we give the Cas fans the advantage of rolling into work feeling good about what they are going to say to their colleagues who support Wakefield.
“For us it’s an important game to maintain some consistency in what we’ve been doing in the Super 8s.
““We’ve played the top three now and I think we’ve been outstanding. It’s important that we maintain the mentality going into this game.
“Sometimes you play a team where the perception of the challenge is not as great and you can cause yourself some trouble.
“We started poorly last time we played Wakefield and we are mindful that we need to start better this time.”