Daryl Powell has warned his Castleford Tigers players that they will have to match Leeds Rhinos for desire when the clubs face off at Magic Weekend for the first time on Sunday.
The Cas boss expects the Rhinos to be pumped up as they seek revenge for the 66-10 mauling they received at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle in March so the Tigers will have to meet fire with fire if they are to continue their impressive recent record at rugby league’s showpiece weekend.
Powell told the Express: “Leeds have been winning games. They are going all right and I would say they are going to have as much motivation as any team coming up against us after we played so well against them at home when they had quite a few injuries.
“You are going to get motivated by that absolutely and it’s a job for us to nullify that motivation and make sure that we are the team that wants to win the game the most.
“We’re going to have to really front up to the challenge that they are going to put in front of us. But I don’t see any reason why we won’t be – we’re in a pretty good place recently and we need to continue that.
“It will be good to get up there and get stuck into Leeds. Hopefully we can come up with an outstanding performance.
“We’ve been great in the Magic fixtures over the last few years and this gives us another opportunity.”
Powell is expecting there to be a great atmosphere for the game, which is the last of the six matches over the weekend at Newcastle.
He said: “Magic Weekend is always a good occasion, two days jam packed with rugby league at the same stadium.
“We’re the last game so we’ve got a chance to watch it all unfold then we take centre stage right at the very end of it.
“You would think that ours will be one of the games that quite a few people would want to watch the way both Leeds and ourselves play – different, but both pretty good to watch I think. It will be an interesting game with plenty of support for both teams.
“Leeds are well supported and our fans travel as well as anybody so it should be a really good atmosphere for the game. We’re looking forward to it.”
Powell will make late calls on two of his players before deciding on his team with half-back Ben Roberts the biggest doubt and Zak Hardaker still recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the 53-10 win over St Helens.
He explained: “Ben Roberts will be a late call and we’ll see how he is later in the week – he’d be a doubt at this stage, but we will check him as we go through the week.
“There’s a few guys not trained yet this week with little bits and pieces, but I think they won’t be too much to keep people out of the game at the weekend. Zak Hardaker’s ankle is not as bad as first thought when he was injured. He should be all right, but he’s one we will have to check through the week. He’s still in a boot, but that is precautionary.”