A KEY DECISION has to be made by Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell ahead of tomorrow’s make-or-break play-off at home to Warrington Wolves.
Tigers are into sudden-death after last Friday’s 41-0 drubbing at St Helens, when Powell left goal-kicking pivot Marc Sneyd out of his team.
Powell opted to face the league leaders with Jamie Ellis and Liam Finn as his half-backs and admitted it is crucial he gets his play-making combination right tomorrow.
Finn, Ellis and Sneyd have all been included in Tigers’ initial 19-man squad and Powell said: “I have got a decision to make at half-back, similar to what I had to make last week.
“We didn’t get the job done last week so there’s potential for a couple of changes in the team, but we haven’t got scope to make too many.
“Everybody has made a big issue of Marc Sneyd being missing, but the half-backs have mixed around a bit this year.
“I know he’s played most of the games, but we are trying to find a combination that will work for us at this point in time.
“We are trying to find our groove at the moment and half-backs are a massive part of that.
“They get put under the most pressure on the field, both with and without the ball. They have to organise the team. We are trying to find a combination that’s going to work for us and we didn’t quite do that last week.”
Tigers have lost their last two games – at Catalan Dragons and Saints – but Powell is hopeful knockout rugby and home advantage will give them an edge tonight.
“We have got to find a performance,” he stressed. “We don’t know how much impact the Catalan game had on last week.
“We have been starting games well pretty consistently, but our durability hasn’t been good enough. We’ve got to be more durable and find a performance over 80 minutes.
“If we do that we’ve a good chance.”
Tigers hammered Warrington 40-6 at MAH Jungle over Easter and Powell added: “I don’t think we have lost three games on the spin this year.
“We have generally stabilised and responded pretty well. We are at home and we’ve been great here all year.
“We’ve got to hope that we can come up with a performance that’s good enough to get a result.
“We know it will be tough and Warrington are coming off the back of a win, but I think if we play well we are capable of winning the game.
“It’s about finding that groove in our performance and a bit of fluency about what we do and we have to be a bit tougher for longer.
“We were disappointed in ourselves last week. We weren’t tough enough for anywhere near long enough and that’s something we need to fix up straight away.
“We know we are capable of beating anybody in the comp’. There’s nothing to fear and we’ve got everything to gain.”
Tigers are without Jake Webster, who suffered a head injury in the play-off defeat to Saints, but Lee Jewitt is available after missing last week’s defeat due to injury.
And James Clare – who was left out to make way for Justin Carney – is also in contention, along with Sneyd.
Full-back Matty Russell is out of Warrington’s side due to a facial injury sustained in last Saturday’s win over Widnes Vikings, but Paul Wood is available following suspension and Ben Evans and Gene Ormsby are also in the 19-man squad.
Castleford Tigers: from Dorn, Dixon, Channing, Shenton, Carney, Ellis, Finn, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Millington, Massey, Clark, Wheeldon, Sneyd, Jewitt, Clare.
Warrington: from Ratchford, J Monaghan, Bridge, Atkins, R Evans, O’Brien, Myler, Hill, Higham, Harrison, Laithwaite, Waterhouse, Wood, M Monaghan, Asotasi, Currie, England, B Evans, Ormsby.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).
Kick-off: Thursday 8pm.