JORDAN RANKIN feels that Warrington Wolves poor run of form in Super League is irrelevant ahead of Castleford Tigers' trip to the Halliwell Jones Stadium tomorrow night.
The Wolves showed their appetite for the big occasion when they trounced St Helens 18-4 in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley last month.
However, Steve Price’s men have won just one of their last eight outings in the league, with their only victory coming in a 23-16 success against Wakefield Trinity.
And when asked if it was a good time to face the Wire, Rankin responded: “Not really. They have showed a bit of a dip in form but when it came to the count they were there at Wembley and got the job done against a good St Helens team.
“They know how to play finals footy, they are pretty experienced at that side of the competition.
“And we know that going there is going to be a tough ask.
“We are ready for a battle and hopefully we come away with a win.”
He added: “Any game you have got to play away from home in these semi-finals is massive.
“They have obviously got the advantage with having the home draw but that is part and parcel of rugby league.
“And we are looking forward to the challenge on Thursday night.”
A fifth-placed finish in the regular season means that the Tigers won’t play a home game in the play-offs.
They must also win three-straight games without defeat in order to reach the Grand Final at Old Trafford.
“It is going to be tough no matter who we play,” Rankin admitted.
“No matter what the draw gives us, it is going to be tough. We are ready and will give it the best shot.
“No-one has really given us a chance and I think within the group we have got belief within each other that we can get the job done.”
Castleford were beaten 26-8 by Wigan Warriors in their final game of the regular season, in a result that temporarily put their play-off hopes in doubt.
A defeat for Hull FC at home to league leaders St Helens meant that the Tigers secured their spot in the top five but Rankin has urged Castleford to improve.
“Wigan taught us a bit of a lesson in finals footy last Thursday night,” he added.
“They kicked well, they defended well and taught us how to play at that stage of the year.
“It is something we are going to have to be better at on Thursday night, to get us the result we need.”
Rankin has been deployed at full-back in recent outings and added: “It is somewhere I feel more comfortable. It frees me up and gives me the opportunity to get my hands on the ball at both ends of the field.”