Forward Matt Cook says even the players don’t know what to expect from inconsistent Castleford Tigers.
Tigers won their first four games this season, but have not picked up back-to-back victories since.
The 18-10 home defeat by Leeds Rhinos last Friday came five days after they had thrashed London Broncos 42-10 at the Jungle and Cook admitted: “At the moment we don’t know which team is going to turn up each week.”
Castleford seemed to have turned a corner with the result against previously in-form London, but Cook conceded they were second-best in what was a game between fourth and 10th on the table.
He said: “Against London our attitude was great, our defence was brilliant and on-point and we were all playing well for each other.
“Then [last Friday] we seemed to miss that spark.
“It is frustrating, especially with it being a derby game.
“It doesn’t get any easier – we have got Wakey this week which is another local derby for us.
“It is big and we need to train real hard this week and have a good look at ourselves individually in the video review and up our game.
“You look at yourself in the mirror and you know whether you’ve done well or not in games.
“We have just got to work hard and come back fighting.”
Despite having won only six of their last 17 league fixtures Tigers are still in the hunt for a top-five place.
They have slipped to sixth, two points outside the play-offs zone, but Cook reckons a string of wins would put them right back in the mix.
“The table’s pretty crazy at the minute,” he pointed out.
“Other than Saints flying away with it, a couple of wins you are right in it and a couple of losses and you are down at the other end where you don’t want to be. There’s only eight games left now and we can’t keep relying on the odd win here and there.
“We have got to start stringing some back-to-back performances together.
“That’s the key for us, we need to produce week-in, week-out, not just one week and not the next.
“Fingers crossed we will be able to deliver that in time to do something serious.”
Against Leeds, Tigers dominated possession and field position for long periods, but struggled to break down a much-improved Rhinos defeat. The hosts trailed 6-0 at the break and were 14 points adrift before two tries in as many minutes gave them hope.
Rhinos, though, weathered the storm and Cook paid tribute to the visitors’ battling performance.
“Credit to Leeds,” he said.
“We threw a lot at them, especially in the first 20 minutes and they defended very valiantly and kept us out.
“It was a tough one, we let it slip at the start of the second half and managed to find a way to fight back in. We looked pretty hot near the back end and the ascendancy came back our way and we had the momentum, then too many crucial errors at the wrong time in the game cost us.
“Leeds capitalised and fair play to them, it was a good win for them.
“We have got to play a lot better, if we want to do something this year we have got to be at the races more.”