CASTLEFORD TIGERS need to put some painful lessons into practice when they take on visitors London Broncos this evening, forward Chris Clarkson says.
Having lost 27-26 at 11th-placed Hull KR six days ago, Tigers will face another side scrapping for their Betfred Super League lives.
London are bottom of the table and Tigers saw last week how desperate the threat of relegation can make a team.
This time, Clarkson says, they have to make sure they match and better that – and ram home their advantage if and when they get in front.
Against Rovers, Tigers clawed their way back from 12-0 down to lead 26-14, but allowed the home team to battle back and snatch it in golden-point extra-time.
Castleford had opportunities to grab a win in the 80 minutes, but their composure deserted them and Clarkson admitted: “It was a hard one to take.
“We spoke before the game about needing to be on against Hull KR. They are desperate, I don’t think we were as desperate as they were and it showed.
“The way it finished, with the extra-time and the drop goal straight away, was hard, but we have to pick ourselves up, stay focused and go again against London who are going to be just as desperate.”
Tigers showed some good qualities in their dominant spell either side of half-time last weekend, but Clarkson added: “We let it slip again.
“Once we get in front there’s no excuses, we need to be putting the game to bed. We need to look at why that happened.”
For different reasons, Clarkson reckons Tigers have just as much to play for as bottom club London.
Last week’s results pushed Castleford down to seventh at the start of round 25 and with only five games left Tigers can’t afford many more slip-ups if they are going to secure a play-off spot.
“We just need to string some wins together,” Clarkson stressed.
“We have got some tough games coming up towards the end of the year, teams in and around us and above us that we need to be beating to get into that top-five.
“That’s our focus, that’s still our goal and it’s still very do-able.
“There’s going to be some tight, close games towards the end of the year and in the play-offs if we get there, but we have got to be winning them.
“There might be some one-point games and some golden point games and we need to practice that.
Last week will stand us in good stead, but we need to learn from where we went wrong, put the pressure on the other team rather than on ourselves.”
Castleford have suffered a blow with the loss of influential prop Liam Watts who is facing a month on the sidelines with finger and ankle injuries.
Outside-backs Greg Eden (ankle) and Greg Minikin (knee) also picked up injuries last week.
Jamie Ellis is set to make his first appearance of the year. after suffering a knee injury in pre-season. Paul McShane returns after suspension and Tuoyo Egodo has been recalled to Tigers’ squad.
Will Lovell replaces Greg Richards in the only change to London’s squad following last week’s 58-28 drubbing by Salford Red Devils.
Castleford Tigers: from Aston, Blair, Clare, Clarkson, Egodo, Ellis, Holmes, Maher, Massey, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, O’Neill, Rankin, Sene-Lefao, Smith, Trueman.
London Broncos: from Abdull, Adebiyi, Battye, Butler, Cunningham, Dixon, Fleming, Fozard, Hellewell, Ioane, Kear, Krasniqi, Lamb, Lovell, Mason, Pitts, Walker, Williams, Yates.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Leigh).
Kick-off: Today, 7.30pm.