PLAYING IN a Grand Final is what Junior Moors came to England to do – and he says Castleford Tigers are right on his schedule.
The 31-year-old New Zealand-born forward joined Tigers from Melbourne Storm ahead of the 2015 season and his Castleford career has all been geared towards Saturday’s Betfred Super League decider – against Leeds Rhinos – at Old Trafford.
Moors has been a key figure in Tigers’ rise to the top of the European game.
He had a lengthy spell on the sidelines during the summer, due to a knee injury, but returned to lead Castleford’s pack as they finished 10 points clear at the top of the table and secured a first appearance at Old Trafford.
“I came over here with a plan to, within a couple of years, be up there with the best teams,” Moors said.
“We have done a great thing this year.
“It is so good to be in the Grand Final and hopefully we can go one step further.”
Moors has been at the club long enough to know what Saturday means to the area.
It is Tigers’ first Grand Final and they have never been champions of the elite competition.
“It’s not just us as players and the coaching staff,” Moors said.
“The town is really involved in the team.
“It is massive not just for us, but for everyone in the town.”
Tigers have been the best team all year, but were seconds from defeat in last Thursday’s semi-final.
They led 8-0 and 20-10 against St Helens, but also had to hit back from 10-8 and 22-20 behind, sealing victory through Luke Gale’s golden point drop goal.
Moors reckons they will have to play better at Old Trafford.
He said: “We let a lead slip at the end, which is unlike us this year, but for us to fight back like we did and get the win was awesome.
“Hopefully we learn from those mistakes and we don’t get put into that position again.”
Tigers’ ability to play to the 80th minute – and beyond – will benefit them in the title decider, according to Moors. He added: “Getting through a game like that just before the Grand Final is awesome.
“The experience we get from winning a game like that will stand us in good stead.”
Tigers maintained their standards after securing the league leaders’ shield with four Super-8s fixtures in hand.
They could have taken their foot off the game, but Moors feels maintaining their winning attitude has been crucial.
“It was a funny one,” he said.
“There were a few games people said didn’t mean anything, but for us it was all about gaining some momentum going into the semi-final.
“We started off well, then hit a bit of a rocky patch, but that’s what’s going to happen in semi-finals. It was good to come back and get that win.”
Yesterday’s team visit was the first time Moors had been to Old Trafford.
He predicted: “It will be a great atmosphere.
“Not many people are privileged to get there in their career so it is definitely something I will treasure this week and I’ll be ready to go on Saturday.
“The guys we have at the club here, everyone is really close and we have a special bond.
“It makes it that much more special doing it all together.”