CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ most embarrassing performance of the season has produced positive results in the long-run, according to hooker Adam Milner.
Tigers, who face Catalans Dragons in Perpignan today, were thrashed 44-6 at home by Warrington Wolves in the final round of the regular First Utility Super League season, but have bounced back with successive victories in the Super-8s.
“There was a bit of pressure on us because of that heavy defeat from Warrington,” Milner admitted.
“We got criticised against them that we were starting to leak or falter, but the way we have responded has been outstanding.
“We knocked Hull off and Warrington at home and that’s something we’ve talked about – our home form.
“Now we’re really looking forward to a big challenge facing Catalans.
“That Warrington loss was probably a wake-up call.”
With Huddersfield winning at St Helens on Thursday night, third spot is now in Tigers’ sights.
They are two points behind Giants – who went third – and Saints, with both still to play.
The top four will go through to knockout semi-finals and Milner said that makes today’s game “massively” important.
He stressed: “We spoke about it at the start of the Super-8s, that if we can go over there and knock Catalan off we’d go into the Huddersfield game – which a lot of people are talking about as the crunch game – in good nick, but it is more about momentum and winning mentality.”
Tigers were flying out to Perpignan this morning and will return immediately after the game.
“It’s a challenge, but we’ve prepared for it well this week and it’s not much different to the London trip we used to make,” Milner said of the flying visit.
“Personally, I’d sooner do it in the day.
“When you go out there for a few days you are out of your comfort zone and normal routine.
“At least now it’s just one day we’ve got to deal with, but we can’t go over there looking for excuses.
“We’ve got to go down there with one thing in mind and that’s to come home with two points.”
Meanwhile, Milner revealed he has enjoyed this season after a disappointing campaign in 2014 and confirmed he is keen to sign a new deal when his current one ends next year.
“Last year was probably one of my worst, in spite of the club having such a good year, but I think I’ve responded well and am just looking to improve each week,” he stated.
Catalans Dragons from: Escare, Pomeroy, Carney, Dureau, Elima, Henderson, Taia, Anderson, Bosc, Lima, Pelissier, Whitehead, Garcia, Bousquet, Maria, Baitieri, Gigot, Inu, Sigismeau.
Castleford Tigers from: Dorn, Webster, Shenton, Carney, Roberts, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Millington, O Holmes, Cook, Massey, Moors, Wheeldon, Finn, McMeeken, Gibson, Springer, McShane.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).
Kick-off: Today, 5pm.