Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell believes all the pressure is on opponents Hull FC for tonight’s final Betfred Super 8s game at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
The visitors come into the game needing at least a point to ensure they make the play-offs while the Tigers are home and hosed at the top of the table and working on making sure they are ready and sharp for their guaranteed home semi-final next Thursday.
Cas can go out and enjoy the game, according to their head coach, but Powell is still keen for the team to end their regular season with another good display to ensure they have some momentum for their knockout match ahead.
He told the Express: “There’s absolutely no pressure on us to win this game. We can just go and play well and enjoy ourselves.
“The opposition have got all the pressure on them. I think Wigan tried to slip it onto us last week, but that didn’t work, it’s pointless trying to do that.
“Sam Tomkins talking about us, questioning our temperament – I thought that was pretty rich coming from him, even after we’d beaten them so we will just crack on, keep doing our job and look after ourselves.
“Hull will be desperate like Wigan were last week. They’ve got to get something out of the game. For us we just need to go and play well and we’ll be looking to do that again.
“We can possibly knock Hull out of the play-offs if we win, but the motivation for us is to play well. Hull have got a different motivation.
“We just want to keep our momentum going and it’s a good opportunity for us I think and a good opportunity for some players who are going into the team to perform.”
With the play-off game less than a week later Powell will not risk any of his players who are carrying knocks, but promised it will still be a strong team taking the field.
He said: “We’ll have some players who are coming into the team looking to prove a point and that’s always a good thing.
“We’ve got a few knocks and have to be mindful of what’s going to happen the week after with the play-off.
“We need to be smart with a few of the boys who have got knocks. There will be a few changes in there, but it will still be a strong squad.
“Whenever we’ve played this year we’ve been looking to give a good account of ourselves and we’ll be looking to do the same again.
“Ben Roberts will be in. He’s going to need to get some minutes under his belt so he’ll definitely be in there.
“Junior Moors won’t be available. Hopefully he will be all right for the semi-final, but he won’t play this week.”
Whatever the result tomorrow night, the Tigers will finish at least 10 points clear at the top to record the biggest winning margin since Super League started.
Powell added: “It’s fantastic. What we’ve done since we won the league Leaders’ Shield has been an outstanding effort – to continuously win games when on the face of it there’s nothing riding on it.
“It’s certainly not in my make-up to put the cue on the rack and I don’t think it’s in our players either. We’ve been awesome in how we’ve delivered consistent performances.
“We’ve got to do it for three more games now, that’s the plan. And if we do that we know what that means.”