CAPTAIN Danny Orr is hoping to make it third time lucky in the Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final.
Orr played for Castleford Tigers in each of their two previous appearances in the competition’s last four – when they lost to London Broncos in 1999 and Wigan Warriors three years later.
Ironically, he went on to play for both those clubs and tasted semi-final victory with Wigan, against Warrington Wolves, in 2004 – though they went on to lose the final to St Helens.
The only member of the current squad to have played for Tigers in a semi-final, Orr said: “Fingers crossed it is third time lucky. It is not nice losing in a semi and hopefully we can put that right. In different competitions I’ve played in five semi-finals and won one.
“It is a great feeling and a big relief when you win one, knowing you’ve got to a final and you’ve a chance of winning a trophy.
“That’s the big thing. People know we are only 80 minutes away from Wembley, but at the same time you could be a million miles away, because if it doesn’t go right on the day you could have to wait 10 years before you get another chance.
“It is a great day and a great occasion for the club and hopefully we can get a win.”
Orr feels semi-finals are the worst time to lose a Cup tie.
He said: “Looking back to 2004, I was gutted to lose the final, but you can always look back and say ‘I played in that final, I played in front of 70-80,000 people’.
“That in itself is a great achievement. But when you lose a semi-final, you are so close, but you have nothing to show for it and you don’t know when it’s going to come round again.”
Sunday will be Leeds’ 12th semi-final of the summer era and the majority of their squad played at Wembley last year.
Orr is unconcerned by Cas’ underdog status. He insisted: “It is two good teams having a crack at each other. Leeds are a great team, we know that.
“I think it’s right to say they have not been as consistent as they have been in recent years, but at the same time they are still a fantastic team full of great players and internationals. They are nearly at full-strength and we are nowhere near, so we will be underdogs – but we were against Huddersfield in the quarter-final. It doesn’t bother us one little bit.”
Tigers’ lack of big-game experience is also of little concern to Orr. “In a big game it can go two ways – you can go into your shell or it can bring the best out of you,” he said.
“These young lads have shown all year – and some of them for the last two years – that they are great players. They are in the team on merit and hopefully the occasion will bring the best out of them and they’ll be able to shine and do themselves proud.”
Tigers coach Terry Matterson is refusing to reveal whether stand-off Rangi Chase will be available for tomorrow’s game.
A court case in Australia has allegedly put his involvement in doubt, but Orr – who is also keeping things close to his chest – reckons they can cope without his half-back partner, if necessary.
“It probably would be more pressure on people like me and Goldy (Ryan McGoldrick),” he said. “But at the same time it is nothing we can’t handle.
“We are both senior players, we have been around a while and we’ve played in a lot of big games.
“Rangi is a great player and if he is out of any team he is going to be missed, he is that good. But we can deal with that.”