FIVE MORE wins could earn a Castleford Tigers a place in the semi-finals, forward Matt Cook reckons.
Tigers finished sixth in First Utility Super League and begin their Super-8s campaign away to leaders Hull tomorrow night.
The top-four after the next seven games will slug it out for a place in the Grand Final and Cook insists Tigers are still in the race.
“As a group of lads we have still got high aspirations to actually get into that top-four and have a real crack at getting something out of this season,” Cook stressed.
“We are going to enjoy ourselves and take each week as it comes, then hopefully we will be in the right area at the back end of the seven games.”
Cook is one of the few Tigers players to get through the regular season without a major injury.
The loss of key players right from round one – when captain Michael Shenton suffered cruciate ligament damage – has had a major bearing on Tigers’ season and Cook feels they have done better than could have been expected after being cut down to the bare bones.
“I think we’ve done really well to achieve sixth in the regular season and still be in touching distance of that top-four with the seven games coming up, with all the injuries we’ve had,” he said.
“It has been especially tough in the halves, missing Benny Roberts for a lot of the season and Galey [Luke Gale] missing a couple here and there.
“We’ve had Paul McShane having to step in there, although he’s done a great job.
“It’s nice to have Rangi [Chase] here now to fill the role and hopefully give us a good push in the Super-8s.”
Tigers could not have had a harder start, but Cook believes it could be a good time to go to KC Stadium, a week after Hull secured their place at Wembley.
He said: “They had a tough game against Wigan in the Challenge Cup semi-final so hopefully that will have taken a bit of juice out of them, but they’ll have high aspirations to do the treble themselves and we’ve just got to go there and make sure we play well.
“It’s a good atmosphere at Hull FC’s ground and we’ve got to go there with plenty of energy and hopefully out-enthuse them and get the two points. The main focus for us is just to keep trying to be at our best each week and try and claw our way up the table.”