CASTLEFORD TIGERS will be going all out on Friday to finish their season with back-to-back wins over Super League’s top-two.
Tigers will end the campaign fifth in the First Utility Super-8s table, whatever happens in this weekend’s final round of matches.
But having stunned leaders Leeds Rhinos last week, captain Michael Shenton insisted they are determined to do similar to second-placed Wigan Warriors in three days’ time. Wigan trail Rhinos on points difference and will finish top of the table if they win and Leeds lose away to Huddersfield Giants.
“It is a massive challenge for us,” Shenton admitted. “But the attitude we showed last week was awesome, it was outstanding right across the board.
“All our players were right on the money. We have a few key injuries, people who’ve had surgery and little bits of drama at our place, but we showed what kind of culture we’ve got at Cas now.
“To go to Headingley, when people were saying we had nothing to play for and to go about the game the way we did was outstanding. They were at home maybe for the last time and had so much to play for, but I thought we went about it tremendously.”
A series of narrow defeats cost Tigers their place in the semi-finals and Shenton said: “Look back at some of the losses we’ve had and it is frustrating.
“But when you consider how much transition we’ve had to go through and all the changes we’ve had, we have been so close. We are looking forward to next year now, but not just that. We’ve spoken about not letting this season just go, let’s build something for pre-season and get some momentum for next year.
“Also, we’ve got a few guys leaving us this year and they are a big part of the culture we’ve got here at Cas now. Things have changed, professionalism and the way people are wearing the shirt now. That showed on Friday, not just in the result, but the performance we put in over 80 minutes. The guys who are moving on have been great for us and it’s a shame. Nobody wants to leave Cas any more, people want to come here, which is great and it’s good for us building for 2016.”
Half-back Luke Gale was Tigers man of the match in the win at Leeds and Shenton has joined calls for him to be drafted into the England squad to face New Zealand this autumn.
He said: “He has grown so much this year. He is tough, he can play and he is durable. He has always been a bundle of energy and enthusiasm, but he has added a bit of composure to his game. He is smart and he can read the game.
“I’ll be disappointed if he’s not in there, but I’m sure he’ll be in the mix.”