CASTLEFORD TIGERS have proved a point in their last two Betfred Super League matches, according to forward Matt Cook.
Cook reckons Tigers have shown they can come through tight games, after narrow losses to Salford Red Devils, St Helens and Hull earlier in the season.
The 26-21 win over Huddersfield Giants and last Sunday’s 29-18 victory against Leeds Rhinos were both hard-fought and Cook observed: “We managed to find a way through and do what good teams do best.
“We came home well. It is nice getting the big scores on the board every week, but the tight games are the better wins.
“Knowing we can come out of a tight game is important for us, because that’s what the business end is all about.”
The victory over Leeds five days ago will send Tigers into the bank holiday double-header – beginning at home against Widnes Vikings tonight followed by Monday’s trip to Leigh Centurions – in good heart.
“It was key to get a win last week,” Cook said. “It was a really tough battle for a good 60 minutes of that game. We had a little purple patch at the start of the second half and got some points on the board which gave us some breathing space. It was a big win.”
Widnes are bottom of the table, one place below Leigh, but Cook warned: “I saw them in their Challenge Cup game against Warrington – they had a massively depleted team and they threw everything at them.
“I thought they were unlucky – take Kevin Brown out of Warrington’s team on that day and I think they’d have won that game.
“They showed some heart and passion and it’s not going to be an easy game.
“No game is easy, you have to have the right attitude.
“Widnes will have it fresh in their mind that we nilled them at their place earlier in the season.
“They are going to want to come to our place and try and scalp us and knock us off our perch.
“We have got a 100 per cent record at home and they are going to want to mess that up for us.
“We have got to make sure we are at our best to stay at the top of the ladder and keep Cas a fortress. Saints beating Hull gave us a bit of breathing space on them, but Salford are chewing at our heels and they pipped us earlier in the year at their place.
“It is an interesting competition at the moment. All the boys are enjoying it, it’s a good camp to be in and we just need to keep our feet grounded and keep working hard.”
Jake Webster and Junior Moors will be rested tonight and Alex Foster also drops out from last week’s team. Gadwin Springer, Kieran Gill, Kevin Larroyer, Joel Monaghan and Ben Roberts are all in contention for a call-up. Rangi Chase, who is on loan from Tigers, is ineligible to play for Widnes.
Castleford Tigers: from Cook, Eden, Gale, Gill, Hardaker, T Holmes, Larroyer, Lynch, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Minikin, Milner, Monaghan, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Springer, Shenton.
Widnes Vikings: from Bridge, Buchanan, Burke, Cahill, Chamberlain, J Chapelhow, T Chapelhow, Gerrard, Heremaia, Ince, Johnson, Johnstone, Manuokafoa, Olbison, Runciman, Thompson, B Walker, D Walker, White.
Referee: Chris Campbell (Widnes).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.