HOOKER PAUL McShane says Castleford Tigers’ first objective for Thursday night is to win the game.
Tigers will be mathematically confirmed as Betfred Super League leaders if they beat visitors Wakefield Trinity.
They have a 10-point lead over second-placed Leeds Rhinos with just five rounds remaining in the Super-8s and their huge points difference advantage means they will not be caught.
It is set to be party time this week, but McShane insisted Tigers, who could have several key players back after injury, can’t get distracted from the job at hand.
“We are still focused on winning,” he said. “We set a target of five wins from seven in the Super-8s and we didn’t get off to a good start against Saints, but we fixed things up against Salford last week and hopefully we can continue that on Thursday.”
McShane said Tigers are using the Super-8s to build form for their home play-off and – he hopes – October’s Grand Final at Old Trafford.
“The first week we were a bit off our standards,” he accepted. “Take nothing away from Saints, they were great on the night, but I think last week we got back to those standards. We just need to keep building that momentum.”
Castleford, who made their debut as a senior club in 1926, have never finished top of the elite competition and McShane admitted lifting the league leaders’ shield will be “massive for the club”.
He said: “We could write our part in the history of the club. “That’s something we are motivated to do, not just for ourselves, but for the club.”
But Trinity, McShane’s former side, will be determined to spoil the party. They are fourth in the table and on a high from last Thursday’s 38-6 drubbing of Leeds Rhinos.
“They were outstanding the other day and the last time we played them it was a really tough battle,” McShane said.
“But we are at home and we weren’t the best at home last time so hopefully we can fix up on that and put in a good performance.
“They are all going to be tough games in the eights. We see it as a new competition. It is finals football now and the conditions last week [heavy rain] are probably what it’s going to be like from now on.
“We will keep learning each week and keep building. We have been great all year.
“I don’t know if it’s a case of improving, or maintaining it or adapting to the conditions, but we are eager to keep doing what we are doing and we still want to improve.”