After denying Leeds Rhinos their title party last week Daryl Powell is backing his Castleford Tigers to throw another spanner in the works when they go to Wigan tomorrow night – but they will have to do it without two key first teamers.
Captain Michael Shenton and forward Junior Moors are both expected to miss Castleford’s final game of the season after adding to an injury list that already includes Jake Webster, Nathan Massey and Frankie Mariano.
However, after the way the Tigers played against the Rhinos, head coach Powell believes there is confidence that they can claim another big win and end the season in style.
He told the Express: “It’s going to be tough, they haven’t been beaten at home apart from in the World Club Challenge and they are always a difficult side to play against anyway.
“But I think there is a confidence in our team and the way we have been playing. We think we can go over there and compete.
“We will have to be outstanding, they’ve got everything to play for and are a well drilled side, they know what they’re doing.
“We’ve got to go toe to toe with them, match them physically and match them for intensity because you know whenever you play Wigan that’s always going to be there.
“Their season has completely flipped, they have been superb at home, but their away form has been average really.
“We played them at home early on and were way too good for them so they’ll be bristling this week based on what’s in front of them.
“They don’t like to get beat and they are fighting for the league leaders’ shield and a home play-off so we know they will be highly motivated.
“But it’s a key game for us. We are not waiting until next year to make that change into a top four team, we want to end this season well.”
Castleford have nothing to play for in terms of league position as last week’s win clinched a fifth place finish, but Powell still sees the Wigan match as an important one to do well in.
He said: “It’s a key game for us. Whether we win it or not, how we go about our business is really important.
“We keep talking about that mentality shift and I’d like us to go after them and put them under pressure. If we play smart we know we can cause them trouble.
“We can cause anybody trouble and have consistently done that across the season.
“It’s an important game for us regardless of what the points on the ladder say. We can’t go up or down now, but in terms of our own mentality we can make a big shift.
“We started the process against Leeds and we’d like to finish that off for this season.
“This is about going on with it and rubber stamping that we are a genuine top four team and not waiting until next season to do that.”
Powell is leaving it as late as possible to name his starting line-up after the injuries picked up by Shenton and Moors in particular.
He explained: “Michael Shenton’s a serious doubt with a knee injury and he’s struggling.
“Junior Moors has just had an X-ray on his neck and he has to be a major doubt.
“There’s a couple of bits of pieces there so I am not going to be able to name the team until later in the week. I will announce a squad, but the team will take a bit longer to sort out because of the injuries
“But I know there will be a couple of changes in the starting team I think.”