Castleford Tigers will aim to put St Helens under “intense pressure” at the Totally Wicked Stadium tomorrow night.
Saints will receive the Betfred Super League leaders’ shield following the game which comes six days after their shock 18-4 Coral Challenge Cup final loss to Warrington Wolves.
Tigers boss Daryl Powell was at Wembley last Saturday to see only Saints’ fourth defeat of 2019 and despite the result, he said: “I thought they played pretty well, to be honest.”
Powell reflected: “They made a lot of errors, but they really challenged Warrington and Warrington had to really hang in there.
“You have to do that with St Helens because they have so much quality and they execute really well and put you under pressure.
“You have to hang tough and turn up and make tackles. I think they will play well and they’ll come after us, but one thing I’ll say is it was a tough game for both teams in difficult conditions so what we’ve got to do is put them under intense pressure.
“We’ve generally started well against St Helens, but not been able to hold it for long enough to put them under intense pressure.
“We have to be able to do that. I think we are in a better place than we have been for a while fitness-wise, we have trained in an intense way and we have to show that’s working for us.”
Warrington proved Saints are not invincible and Powell has taken that lesson on board.
“They defended really well,” he observed.
“They were pretty route one in the way they played, there wasn’t a lot of ball movement, particularly in yardage.
“They had a great plan, Steve Price did an awesome job in the way he got his team ready for that game, because they had lost five straight before that. Credit has to go to the club, the coaching staff and the way they went about it.”
Powell is hoping his players get their mentality right for the test ahead.
He added: “We are training really hard at the minute and we are putting a lot of pressure on the players.
“The tough games help you when you get into the play-offs because that’s exactly what they are.
“It is set up ideally for us; it is tough.”