CASTLEFORD TIGERS are aiming to put St Helens under “intense pressure” at Totally Wicked Stadium tomorrow.
Saints will receive the Betfred Super League leaders’ shield following the game which comes six days after their shock 18-4 Coral Challenge Cup final loss to Warrington Wolves.
Tigers coach Daryl Powell was at Wembley last Saturday to see only Saints’ fourth defeat of 2019 and, despite the result, he said: “I thought they played pretty well, to be honest.”
Powell reflected: “They made a lot of errors, but they really challenged Warrington and Warrington had to really hang in there.
“You have to do that with St Helens because they have so much quality and they execute really well and put you under pressure.
“You have to hang tough and turn up and make tackles.”
The Cas coach added: “I think they will play well and they’ll come after us, but one thing I’ll say is it was a tough game for both teams in difficult conditions so what we’ve got to do is put them under intense pressure.
“We’ve generally started well against St Helens, but not been able to hold it for long enough to put them under intense pressure.
“We have to be able to do that.
“I think we are in a better place than we have been for a while fitness-wise, we have trained in an intense way and we have to show that’s working for us.”
Warrington proved Saints are not invincible and Powell has taken that lesson on board.
“They [Warrington] defended really well,” he observed.
“They were pretty route one in the way they played; there wasn’t a lot of ball movement, particularly in yardage.
“They had a great plan. [coach] Steve Price did an awesome job in the way he got his team ready for that game because they had lost five straight before that.
“Credit has to go to the club, the coaching staff and the way they went about it.”
Saints are the only Super League team with nothing to play for – other than pride -–over the final three rounds.
Tigers, though, need to win tomorrow to maintain their push for a play-offs spot.
Their final games of the regular season are against the sides currently first, fourth and third in the table and Powell reckons they need to get their “mentality” right.
“We are training really hard at the minute and we are putting a lot of pressure on the players,” he said. “The tough games help you when you get into the play-offs because that’s exactly what they are.
“It [the final three rounds] is set up ideally for us; it is tough – I think we have got the hardest run-in of all the top teams – but that will steel us up for what’s coming, hopefully.”
Prop Liam Watts has been included in Tigers’ initial squad after missing two games owing to finger and ankle injuries.
Full-back Calum Turner also comes into contention, with half-back Cory Aston and winger Tuoyo Egodo dropping out of the 19.