EVERY GAME in the Betfred Super-8s from now on is a potential Grand Final dress rehearsal for Castleford Tigers, coach Daryl Powell reckons.
The league leaders face second-placed Leeds Rhinos at the Jungle tonight and Powell said: “We have got Wigan next week and then Hull and we could easily come up against any two of those in the semi-final and final.
“They are really important games for us, one – for momentum and two – for playing against teams we are going to meet down the track and feeling confident.
“We are feeling confident at the moment, but in the last couple of games we’ve not been right at our best and this is a good time to start hitting our best form.”
Tigers came from 12-6 behind to win 24-16 at Huddersfield Giants a week ago and Powell insisted they need to be better tonight.
“I thought we were a bit off,” he reflected.
“We were not at our best, but we found a way to win and a couple of moments of class in the second half got us the win.
“A lot of improvement is needed and it is a big game for us this week. Playing against Leeds always is.
“We have had some pretty tidy performances against Leeds recently and we will need another one, a really good effort.
“The last two against Leeds have been tough games. We have been able to come out on top, but there’s not been much between the teams for large parts of the game.”
Tigers have won their last seven meetings with Rhinos, but Powell warned: “They have got good players and the way they play is difficult to pick at times. They have got a lot of experience and that’s the big thing in their favour. They have plenty of reasons to want to finish the season well and they are in the fight.
“I think they are a dangerous team and they will challenge us so we need to be at our best.”