Prop forward Liam Watts is looking forward to a big collision in the middle when his Castleford Tigers team clash with Wembley-bound Warrington Wolves at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle tomorrow.
The Wolves possess one of the biggest packs in Super League, but Tigers middle man Watts is relishing the challenge ahead in a game that is likely to have a big bearing on the top two hopes of the two teams.
He said: “It’s going to be a tough forward battle and that’s where I play so I’ll be in the middle of it all.
“They’ve got a lot of big men, their middles are strong, but we’ve got a big team and have got a few players back so we’ll be matching them up front.
“They’ve got people like Chris Hill, Ben Westwood and Ben Murdoch-Masila, they are good players and you want to be testing yourself against the best week in, week out.”
Warrington are in the Challenge Cup final next week, but Watts does not expect any lesser challenge from them tomorrow.
He said: “Hopefully they will have one eye on the Challenge Cup final, but I’m sure they will be coming with the mentality that they want to beat us.
“I’m sure they will bring their strongest side and won’t be resting players. If I was playing in the Challenge Cup final I would want to play and you want a big performance going into it. It’s all mental then.
“They’ll be wanting to give it to us in the first half, especially after watching that first half we had against Wigan. They will have reviewed us and identified weaknesses, but we’ve made changes in certain positions and we’ll see how it goes.”
Watts, meanwhile, says there is still confidence in the Tigers camp that they can reach a second successive Grand Final:
“It’s a stepping stone this week and we believe we are good enough to get to the final.
“We are taking it week by week, but us, Wigan and Warrington are all within touching distance so every game is important for us.
“You’ve got Huddersfield and Catalans who are on a roll and making ground up, but there’s still a bit of a buffer there and if we beat Warrington we’ll go back above them and go into third.
“We want a home semi, but that’s another six weeks down the line yet and we’re just taking it week by week. We’re looking for a response this week. We need to be picking up wins.”
Watts admitted that Cas will have to improve on their performance against Wigan.
He added: “It was a tale of two halves. It was a disappointing first 40, but there were a lot of positives to take out of the second half.
“It took us to get a rollicking at half-time to give us a bit of grunt and give it a go in the second half.
“We got a response, but it wasn’t what we wanted, we shouldn’t have needed a kick up the backside to see that we were still in with a chance of winning the game.
“It could have been a number of things why we didn’t start well last week. We had a week off, but Wigan did as well. You can’t say it’s one specific thing, it’s just one of those things that happen.
“But this week we can’t have a start like that against Warrington. They are pretty hot when they on so we need to be going beyond how we play intensity wise in the first 15, 20 minutes and really stick it to them.”