MATCH-WINNER Liam Finn reckons Castleford Tigers can go all the way in the First Utility Super-8s, if they add some “smarts” to their rugged defence.
Finn banged over a left-footed drop goal 108 seconds from time to beat visitors Warrington Wolves 17-16 at the Jungle two days ago.
That lifted Tigers into fourth place before Huddersfield Giants’ played Catalans Dragons last night, but Finn felt they should not have let the game get so close. Cas led 12-6 at the break and 16-6 soon afterwards, but Warrington scored two quick tries in the final 10 minutes – one directly from a kick by Finn – before the stand-off’s dramatic finish.
Said Finn: “We could have been a lot smarter in that second half with what we did, especially when we got into their 20 or 30-metre area.
“We could have controlled the ball a bit better and been a bit smarter. We were getting carried away with trying to score to kill the game off, when we should have just tried to stay up there. I compounded the issue with my poor kick and they went down there and scored off it. That summed that period up.”
But overall, Finn felt the result and performance were a big step in the right direction, especially after the 44-6 home loss to the same opposition less than three weeks earlier.
He added: “Defensively I thought we went up a level. We went after Warrington, who embarrassed us a few weeks ago.
“That was a source of motivation for us, because nobody likes to get embarrassed like that.
“We wanted to put things right and attitude-wise, I think we did that. We lifted our intensity and if we can just put a bit of smarts in there with the ball, which is obviously down to me and Galey (Luke Gale), we will become a good team in this Super-8s competition. If we want to be serious about getting in the top-four and challenging, we need to be better with the ball.”
Warrington’s equalising try came moments after Gale had missed with a drop goal attempt, the point being ruled out by video referees James Child and Warren Turley. Finn admitted. “I was running back thinking it had gone over, but Galey said he’d missed it! Luckily we got another chance and we are right in the hunt for fourth. That’s the target, to get in the play-offs so we are one game away from the Grand Final.
“But Huddersfield are a good team and they grind out result after result. We have been on their tail all year and the only time they’ve slipped up, so did we.”
Tigers’ next match is away to Catalans, who have lost just twice in Perpignan this year, a week today. That is a crucial contest for Tigers and Finn said: “It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to work out why it’s hard to go over there and it’s hard for them to travel. We have certainly got a tough game against them over there in the heat, but we’ll be full of confidence. We’ve only got one home game left, so we’ve nothing to lose.”