Castleford Tigers: Painful cup memories put Matterson on red alert

Castleford Tigers' Dean Widders in match action.
Castleford Tigers' Dean Widders in match action.
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LOWER division clubs have a habit of causing Castleford Tigers problems in the Carnegie Challenge Cup – so coach Terry Matterson will have his team on red alert when they visit Rochdale Hornets.

Tigers have been victims of upsets in two of their four cup campaigns as a Super League club under Matterson, losing at Widnes Vikings in 2006 and to visitors Barrow Raiders last year – and in 2009 they needed extra-time to see off Halifax.

Cas will go into tomorrow’s fourth- round tie on a run of four games without a win and though they are hot favourites against opposition sitting third in Co-op Championship One, Matterson is well aware of the possible dangers.

“The disappointment of last year still hurts,” admitted the Tigers boss. “You don’t forget those days.

“They can make you stronger in the long run, but it wasn’t nice at the time and we have got to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Matterson insisted Tigers will be treating Rochdale with “the respect they deserve”, but he is confident that last year’s humiliation won’t be preying on his troops’ minds.

“It is a different team and different circumstances,” he said. “I have had a look at Rochdale’s team, but I haven’t watched them and I don’t know a lot about them, without being disrespectful.

“We are working hard on our game and getting some things right that haven’t been so good in the last few games.

“We feel that if we can get those things in order, the result will take care of itself.”

The Challenge Cup has come at a good time for Tigers, who have lost their last three league fixtures and who are without a win in four, following a draw at Harlequins and defeats by Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, St Helens and Leeds Rhinos.

“It is a different competition, but confidence is a bit low,” Matterson admitted. “That’s understandable, but this is a good opportunity to get some confidence back.”

Tigers’ next league match is away to Warrington Wolves on Friday.

Matterson added: “What we have done pretty well this year is concentrate on the game at hand, but a few people have a chance to stake a claim for Friday.

“There’s been a few down on performance and I’ll be taking this cup game into consideration when it comes to the team for next week.”

Despite the winless run, Matterson feels his team aren’t far off – though he said they need to cope better when things start to go wrong.

“We were great against St Helens and we were in a winning position against Harlequins and Wakefield,” he recalled.

“There are some concentration problems and when momentum changes in a game we have got to be able to handle it.

“You aren’t going to be dominant for 80 minutes, but the pleasing thing is we have put ourselves in a position to win games.

“We have not been able to hold on to the lead and, especially against Wakefield and Leeds, when the momentum changed we just could not stem the tide and we came up with errors.

“We couldn’t turn the momentum around again. There are going to be ebbs and flows in games and it’s about how you handle that.”

Nathaniel Peteru

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