Castleford Tigers aiming to home in on play-off semi

Daryl Powell
Daryl Powell

Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell is hoping home crowd support can bring the best out in his players in the elimination play-off game against Warrington Wolves after admitting that they have been off form in recent matches.

The Mend-A-Hose Jungle plays host to its last game in a memorable season tonight and Powell wants one last big turn-out of fans to help roar his side into the Super League play-off semi-final.

He also wants to reward the supporters for the backing they have given over the year with one more big effort at their home ground.

He said: ”Although it’s been a really good year for us this is an important game, it’s a massive game for us to get right.

“In front of our own fans, last home game of the season, it’s got every motivation we need really.

“Our fans have been superb all year and we want to give them something to go away with by finishing our home form off outstandingly well.

“We have got a lot of confidence at home, we have had all year and want to finish off really well.”

Powell believes the fact it will be the last home game at Cas for a number of his players ought to be a motivating factor.

He said: “Obviously Clarky and particularly Craig Huby have been here a long time so for them and all the others moving on we want to do well and make sure their last home game is one for them to remember.

“It’s another little added motivation that will I’m sure help the players drive our performance. When you have to dig that little bit deeper you know you’ve got something else to work for.

“We have beaten Warrington at home already this year. We played really well that day and they weren’t playing so well at the time.

“They look a lot better side now, much tougher defensively, so we won’t read anything into that game, but we know we can beat anybody in the comp, we’ve done it all year, so there’s nothing to fear.

“We know it’s last chance saloon, we’ve got to go out and perform. If we don’t that’s it, the season’s over.”

Castleford are still only two wins away from a Grand Final appearance, but for them to progress at the expense of Warrington Powell knows his team have got to improve on recent displays.

He pinpointed a lack of durability as a major factor in the defeats at St Helens and Catalan in the last two weeks.

Powell added: “We were disappointed in ourselves last week. We weren’t tough enough for anywhere near long enough. That’s something we need to fix up straight away.

“You don’t know how much impact the Catalan game had on last week.

“We started off pretty well and we’ve been starting off games consistently since we played in the cup final, it’s just that our durability hasn’t been good enough.

“We’ve got to find a performance over 80 minutes. If we do that then we’ve a good chance this week.

“I don’t think we’ve lost three games on the spin this year. We’ve generally stabilised and responded well. You are always going to have positions where you are coming off the back of a loss, but we have done it well this year.

“We’re at home and we’ve been great at home all year and we’ve got to hope that we can come up with a performance that’s going to get us the result.

“We know it will be tough, but if we play well we are capable of winning.”

Castleford will be without Jake Webster for tonight’s game after he suffered head injuries in the last two matches. Michael Channing is the most likely deputy while Marc Sneyd could be recalled after being dropped last week.

Powell, meanwhile, has included Lee Jewitt in his squad and will check on the prop’s fitness after a knock ruled him out last week.

Powell will also be relieved that Phil Bentham is down to be referee and not James Child, who’s inconsistent decisions in the St Helens game led to much criticism and led to a £500, with £250 suspended, fine for the Tigers head coach for comments he made publicly about the official’s display.