Castleford Tigers are motivated by the opportunity to become history makers tonight, according to captain Michael Shenton.
The chance to become the first Castleford team to reach Super League’s Grand Final is within the team’s grasp when they take on St Helens in the semi-final at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle and Shenton is urging his team-mates to take it.
He told the Express: “I have played in some big games for the club, but this is right up there because you know where it leads.
“To go to Old Trafford and win the Grand Final would put us in the history books as the first Castleford team to do that and there’s plenty of motivation there.
“But you can’t get too caught up on that, you don’t want the pressure to build up too much.
“Of course, it’s an important game and we are desperate to win it, but we want to kind of have a relaxed feeling about it and not get too het up.
“It’s about us playing as well as we have done this season, having some composure about us and be as consistent as we have all season.”
Shenton is pleased the semi-final is on home soil where they have been strong all year.
He said: “We are at home, which is great. We’ve earned the right for that and we’ve got to make that count.
“If we can build the pressure and the way we play with the ball and defend the crowd picks on the back of it and we can take advantage.
“They’ll come with a game plan to break us down, they are a smart team. It will be an awesome game and the atmosphere will be incredible.
“I think it’s what all the neutrals want, two fantastic games in the semis and it’s exciting times.”
St Helens are one of only two clubs to have beaten the Tigers at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle and Shenton respects the ability of his former team.
He added: “Whoever you play, you know it’s going to be a tough game in the semi-final and you’ve got to beat the best teams to win the competition.
“Saints are right up with the best teams, we know that, and they will be confident because I think over the last few weeks they have worked out what their best combinations are.
“Obviously Ben Barba coming in has given them something extra and they will be a real threat for us.
“Saints are very strong in defence as they showed on their last visit to Castleford. If you do break them down you have to break another layer of defence because their scrambling defence works overtime to stop you getting over the line so you have to be patient and come up with some smart plays to score points.
“But what we’ve done well this year is focus on ourselves and what we’ve got to do well in games. We know we can cause teams a lot of trouble and if we play as we can we have quality.
“We’ve got play a bit of finals football, make sure we build pressure and that our defence is non-stop for 80 minutes because Saints are good at switching the plays and finding players who knock off. We have to be fully switched on, they are a smart team.
“With the ball we’ve got to play, but also complete our sets.”