CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ exit from the Challenge Cup has put added importance on tonight’s home clash with Huddersfield Giants.
Coach Daryl Powell is looking for an instant response following the 42-14 defeat at Hull last Saturday – and he admitted it’s crucial Tigers find some consistency in the league.
Tigers are sixth in First Utility Super League, one point and two places adrift of Giants, who are also reeling from a Cup exit, 48-16 at Leeds Rhinos.
Victory tonight would lift Tigers into the top four, but Giants will open a gap if they win and Powell said: “It’s tight.
“It’s a really tough competition this year and this is an important game.
“I think every week now we’ve just got to get some consistency about us.
“We’ve been pretty good at times, but we’ve dropped off our standards at times.
“We need to be a bit more consistent from week to week.
“We’ve only got the league to focus on now so we’ve got to make sure we are right for that on a weekly basis.”
The Cup defeat was a huge set-back for Tigers, who were keen to go one better than last year when they were runners-up to Leeds Rhinos at Wembley, but Powell said there were lessons to be learned.
“It was a really disappointing performance,” he admitted. “We were 16-0 down and got back to 16-14, but the way we fell away was disappointing. That’s a bit of an issue, just building pressure on teams. We got back into it, but we couldn’t stay in it. We’ve got to work on that.”
Tigers have had just five days to get over last Saturday’s disappointment, but Powell insisted he is not concerned about the short turnaround.
“We just need to play well,” Powell stressed. “There’s no point worrying about it being a Thursday game. It is tough on the players, but the way we’ve trained, we’ve looked all right and we will be okay.”
Tigers’ game at Hull KR has been brought forward to Friday, June 5 (8pm) from the Sunday afternoon to give them more time to prepare for the trip to Leeds Rhinos the following Thursday.
Tigers could be boosted tonight by the return from injury of Frankie Mariano and Denny Solomona. Michael Channing and Will Maher are also in contention for a call-up, with James Clare and Junior Moors dropping out from the team which lost at Hull.
Jamie Ellis, who joined Giants from Tigers at the end of last season, drops out from the Huddersfield team which lost at Leeds. Leroy Cudjoe is also sidelined with a knee injury, with Jodie Broughton, Jake Connor, Oliver Roberts and Kruise Leeming all vying for a place in the team. Craig Huby, who was Castleford Tigers’ longest-serving player until joining Huddersfield last autumn, will be making his first playing return to the Jungle.
Castleford Tigers: from Tansey, Gibson, Webster, Shenton, Solomona, B Roberts, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Bailey, O Holmes, Millington, Massey, Jewitt, McMeeken, Finn, Mariano, Channing, Maher.
Huddersfield Giants: from Grix, McGillvary, Broughton, Wardle, Murphy, Brough, Wood, Crabtree, Robinson, Huby, Ferres, Hughes, Ta’ai, Kopczak, Lawrence, Mullally, Leeming, Connor, O Roberts.
Referee: Richard Silverwood.
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.