Castleford Tigers star Grant Millington reckons the Challenge Cup defeat to Hull has taught his team that they still have plenty to work on to be the champion side they want to be.
The Australian forward worked hard to stem the tide of bulldozing Hull forwards when he came off the bench to be one of the Tigers’ best players on the day and believes the 32-24 loss at the KCOM Stadium highlighted areas that Cas need to improve.
He said: “That’s twice they have done that – they’ve blown us away and we’ve struggled to get back into the game.
“We’ve got them again in two weeks so hopefully we can do ourselves justice and try and win back a bit of dignity against them.
“But if we beat them in one game it’s not going to make up for getting knocked out of the Cup. We are hurting a lot.
“We had our eye on the trophy, but it puts our focus on to something else now. We have got to work really hard to stay at the top of the league and push for the Grand Final.”
The Hull cup tie marked the start of a tough spell for the Tigers as they now go to Leeds Rhinos before the return with Hull in the Super League.
They only have the Super League to aim for now and Millington sees the next two matches as crucial in their aims to top the table and reach the Grand Final.
He said: “Two wins would put us in a good position, but it’s the old cliche, we have to take it week by week.
“Anything can happen in this game.
“A lot of people touted us to beat Hull, but we got dusted.
“We’ve got to be a lot better, especially in the middle. Their back-three were fantastic, they busted us up and their forwards got on the back of that and rolled them up the park.
“It will probably give Leeds a bit of a plan for where they are going to come for us so we have to work hard this week and be ready for it come Friday.”
Cas players will get a couple of valuable weekends off now while their rivals will be battling it out in the semis and final of the Challenge Cup, but Millington admitted they were gutted to go out of the competition.
He added: ”It’s extremely disappointing. We went there knowing we were very capable of winning, but we turned up and we just weren’t good enough.
“We had a few mistakes around half-way on the pitch and they really just nailed us to the wall. We gave away penalties on the back of that and they kept slotting goals.
“It is hard to come back when you are on the back foot like that. We felt like we were chasing our tails all day, we weren’t fluent with the ball.
“We felt like we did well to get ourselves back in the game because we were very scrappy, but we were just hanging in there. Credit to Hull, they played very well and they did a job on us.”