CASTLEFORD TIGERS head coach Daryl Powell believes some of Super League’s traditional powers will show “desperation” in 2018 if there is a new victor at Old Trafford this season.
The competition leaders are eight points clear with just three regular rounds remaining.
Castleford have never won a Grand Final let alone a Championship, something they hope to correct as the Super 8s approach.
However, they are not the only club challenging the status quo – second-placed Salford Red Devils last won a title 41 years ago and Hull FC, in fourth, have not been crowned champions since 1983.
Wakefield Trinity, who Castleford visit Thursday, sit fifth and have ambitions, too, to shock and end a long wait for glory.
St Helens, Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves have all struggled and, on the prospect of a new Super League champion emerging, Powell admitted: “It’s fresh. I think what you’ll see is a redoubling of efforts next year if it does happen; there’ll be a desperation from a lot of teams.
The salary cap was supposed to even things up a little bit and I see a lot of the bigger clubs talking about that.Castleford Tigers’ coach, Daryl Powell
“The salary cap was supposed to even things up a little bit and I see a lot of the bigger clubs talking about that. We’ll see what happens at the end of the year but Salford are doing a great job and are still in the Challenge Cup.
“Lee Radford has done a great job at Hull to get them back up near the top, Wakefield are doing a great job and ourselves. It’s a really interesting end to the year.”
Castleford have Greg Minikin available on Thursday but Jake Webster faces a Grade A charge for a high tackle.
He has an early guilty plea option, though, as does Wakefield’s Keegan Hirst on a Grade A dangerous contact charge so both could avoid bans. But centre Reece Lyne is in doubt for Trinity – who have extended second-row Dean Hadley’s loan from Hull by a further month – on a Grade C dangerous contact charge.