RED HOT Castleford Tigers could complete an “awesome” Super-8s hat-trick this afternoon.
Tigers had the toughest-possible start to the competition, facing the leading trio in their opening three games.
They have already won at Hull and beaten visitors Wigan Warriors and will travel to Warrington Wolves in confident mood.
“The boys are going well at the moment,” was coach Daryl Powell’s assessment of the state of play ahead of today’s trip to the Challenge Cup finalists.
“It is a significant game for us. We have played Warrington three times this year and they’ve beaten us twice. At this stage of the season, to come up with three performance to beat the top-three would be an awesome achievement.
“We have got a little bit of momentum behind us and there’s a real desire about the players.
“If we can win it will give us a real good lead into Challenge Cup final week [when Tigers have no game] and the week after.”
Warrington were the last team to beat Cas, winning 42-26 at the Jungle last month.
“It will be a really good indication of how we have improved,” Powell said of today’s test.
“That was the game that really sparked us into action on what we needed to do. Playing them again gives us a good look at it and how well we can handle their physicality and speed around the middle. I am looking forward to it, it is exciting to see the development of the team. It is a great measure to see how far we’ve come in the last three or four weeks.”
Warrington are a week away from a Wembley showdown with Hull and Powell admitted Tigers will be out to exploit that.
He said: “They will be trying their suits on and getting the tickets sorted and that sort of thing. You never know, some teams handle it better than others, but they have got a huge game next week and we will be trying to take every advantage we can in every single facet of the game.
“They are a big side, so we need to be physical and get stuck into them. We’ve started the last two games really well and it’s important we do that again.”
Tigers will be without Lee Jewitt, who was among the substitutes last week, due to a knee injury. He will leave the club at the end of the season and could have played his final game for Castleford.
Paddy Flynn comes back into contention, along with Frankie Mariano and Will Maher, who were 18th and 19th man last week. Warrington could be unchanged from last week’s win at Wakefield.
Coach Tony Smith will select from that 17, plus Ryan Bailey and Kevin Penny.
Warrington Wolves: from Ratchford, R Evans, T King, Atkins, Russell, Gidley, Sandow, Hill, Clark, Sims, Hughes, Currie, Westerman, Dwyer, Westwood, G King, Wilde, Bailey, Penny.
Castleford Tigers: from Dorn, Hampshire, Crooks, Minikin, Solomona, Chase, Gale, Springer, Milner, Patrick, O Holmes, Savelio, Moors, McShane, Cook, Millington, Flynn, Maher, Mariano.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).
Kick-off: Today, 2pm.