REVITALISED Castleford Tigers have got Leeds Rhinos in their sights, writes Peter Smith.
Tigers are just a point and a place adrift of Leeds on the Engage Super League table, with two rounds of the regular season remaining.
Cas currently sit seventh, but if they can climb at least one place on the ladder they will secure a home tie in the opening round of the play-offs.
Rhinos seemed uncatchable when Tigers were crushed 56-0 at Headingley Carnegie two weeks ago, but last Saturday’s win over Wakefield – plus Leeds’ shock defeat at Harlequins – has blown the race wide open.
Tigers still need another win to guarantee a place in the top-eight and face their closest rivals before the end of the regular campaign.
They play the team immediately below them, Hull, at home next Saturday and finish away to Hull KR the following weekend.
“We are looking for a home semi,” said Cas boss Terry Matterson. “Leeds have got to win their last two to be fifth or sixth.
“They play Wakefield and Huddersfield and if they win them, nothing will change. But if they lose one of them and we win our last two, we’ll go above them.
“Whatever they do, if we win our last two it means we’ll go into the play-offs with some good form and that’s the challenge for us.”
Matterson said the dramatic last-gasp 34-30 win at Wakefield has boosted morale following a run of three straight defeats.
“We bombed that many tries, you think maybe it isn’t going to be your day,” he said. “But has always been a tough place for us to go and they had been building up to it for a while. We had everything to lose, but we found a way to win.”
Tigers trained at the beginning of this week, before the players were given four days off over the weekend to freshen up.
“We’ve not had a weekend off this year, so it is perfect for us,” said Matterson, who hopes to have three players back from injury to face Hull.
“Joe Arundel (hamstring), Nick Fozzard (calf) and Paul Jackson (back) will all be available. They will all train on Monday.