BOSS DARYL Powell has called for a positive reaction from his Castleford Tigers players tonight when they begin their First Utility Super-8s campaign at home to Hull.
Cas’ last game was a 44-6 home loss to Warrington Wolves 12 days ago and Powell admitted: “We have got to respond.”
Said the coach: “Our last block of games hasn’t been as good as we wanted it to be. Previously we were outstanding and we need to replicate that.
“Everybody’s aware of what we need to do and it’s about delivering that.
“We’ve got the players to do it, we’ve just got to play consistently well and be on it every game.”
Powell added: “It’s a new competition now and it’s like play-offs to get into the play-offs.
“The boys are energised after not playing last week and I think this game will be a big indicator of how we are going to go [in the Super-8s].
“It is that important.”
Tigers finished the regular season in fifth place on the Super League ladder, two points adrift of a semi-final spot.
A 21-18 defeat at KC Stadium last month was the result which effectively cost them a top-four place after the weekly rounds and Hull also knocked Tigers out of this season’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
“They’ve beaten us the last twice we’ve played them, so motivation shouldn’t be an issue,” Powell said.
“We’ve not played well against them this year and it is an important game for both teams.
“They will be desperate to win this game, otherwise it will be extremely difficult for them [to reach the play-offs].
“It’s a game both teams need to win.
“We are only two points behind Huddersfield and we’ve got them to play, which will be a key game.
“We finished fourth last year, which would put us in the right position and we want to do it again.”
Tigers could give a debut to hooker Paul McShane tonight, following his deadline-beating transfer from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
“He has settled in really well,” Powell said of the former Leeds Rhinos man, who had a spell at Hull early in his career.
“He is a pretty experienced player now, he has fitted in well with the boys and I am looking forward to seeing him play.”
Powell will select from the 17 who lost to Warrington, plus McShane and prop Nathan Massey, who could return after an ankle injury.
Luke Gale, who was kept in hospital overnight after suffering concussion in the Warrington game, has been cleared to play after passing a head test.
Castleford Tigers: from Dorn, Gibson, Webster, Shenton, Carney, Finn, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Millington, O Holmes, McMeeken, Springer, Boyle, Cook, Moors, Roberts, Massey, McShane.
Hull: from Abdull, Green, Hadley, Houghton, Lineham, Logan, Michaels, Minichiello, Paea, Rankin, Sa, Shaul, Sneyd, Talanoa, Thompson, Watts, Westerman, Whiting, Yeaman.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.