CASTLEFORD TIGERS can do “something special” in the Super-8s, if they improve their defence.
That’s the claim of centre Ben Crooks, who insists Tigers won’t just be making up the numbers over the final third of the season.
Crooks scored Tigers’ final try in their 42-26 loss to Warrington Wolves two days ago and reckons that game illustrated exactly what they need to improve and by how much.
“It was disappointing,” admitted Crooks. “We’ve proved all year we can score tries, but our big downfall at the minute is conceding them.
“We spoke at half-time and said we can’t give them anything and if we do they are going to come straight through us and score a lot of points.
“We had wide spacings in the middle and we talked about tightening them up and if we didn’t do that they were going to come straight through us.
“We failed to do that and that’s exactly what they did to us.
“You give a team like Warrington that many quick play-the-balls and you have people like Daz Clark and Brad Dwyer coming out of dummy-half and Stefan Ratchford and Matty Russell on the back of that, you are dealing with quick ones and it’s going to get ridiculously fast.
“That’s what happened and they tore us apart in the end.”
The positive for Tigers was their own six-try tally.
Crooks added: “We’ve done that a few times.
“We can score enough tries to win any game.
“But at the minute we’re just not backing that up with our defence.
“We’ve conceded the most points this year and that’s something we have really got to fix up going into the Wakefield game and the Super-8s.
“It’s something we need to address and we’ll work on this week.”
Tigers are seventh in the table, seven points behind the top-four.
But Crooks insisted: “There’s still that belief there that we can do something in the Super-8s and we can still create something special.
“We have got to take that belief and that trust and honesty from within each other and we’ve got to work really hard now, because we’ve made it difficult for ourselves.”
Tigers complete their regular season fixtures at Belle Vue on Sunday.
“They are playing some good rugby at the minute,” Crooks said of Wakefield. They have got the confidence that comes off the back of some really good wins.
“They had a good result against Catalans at the weekend and it’s going to be a really tough game going into the eights.”
Meanwhile, the RFL match review panel have charged Crooks with making grade A dangerous contact in last Sunday’s game, but he will avoid a ban if he submits an early guilty plea.