AUSSIE FORWARD Grant Millington admits Castleford Tigers were down after last week’s play-offs rout, but the important thing is they are not yet out.
Tigers were crushed 41-0 at Langtree Park six days ago, less than a week after their hopes of claiming the league leaders’ shield were ended by a 28-6 loss at Catalan Dragons.
Fourth place in Super League secured Tigers a second chance, in a home tie against Warrington Wolves tonight, but they are into sudden-death now and Millington reckons that will bring the best out this year’s beaten Challenge Cup finalists.
“Obviously after a big game like last week, when we had a chance to put ourselves 80 minutes away from a Grand Final, everyone was a bit down,” he conceded.
“But rugby league is one of those games where you have to pick ourselves up, dust yourselves off and get back into it.
“We had a good training session on Monday and a good chat between the players and we all agreed we don’t want to go out of this competition in the manner we played last Friday.
“We want to come out and put in a good performance and makes ourselves proud, our families proud and the town proud.”
Tigers have not lost three successive games all season and Millington is confident they will come up with the right response.
“We’ve done that in the past,” he said. “There’s no reason why we can’t do that now.
“The extra motivation is there’s no second chance. If we fail to perform this time that’s the end of our season and that would be a bitter pill to swallow.
“I’m sure all the boys are preparing mentally and come kick-off time I’m sure we’ll all be firing.”
Warrington finished fifth in the table, one place and a single point behind Tigers.
They hit back from 18-0 down to pip Widnes Vikings 22-19 in an elimination tie last Saturday and Millington observed: “They’ve been building and they’ve done pretty well.
“They did well to come back against Widnes on the weekend and they’ve got a fair few threats there that we have to take care of.
“But we are at home and we usually play pretty good here. We’ll have a pretty strong following behind us who’ve got us through a lot of close games this season and hopefully they can give us a couple more per cent in our game.”
Tonight’s tie will be the farewell appearance at the Jungle in Cas colours for Marc Sneyd, Craig Huby, Weller Hauraki, Daryl Clark and Jamie Ellis, who are all leaving the club at the end of the year.
“We want to do our best to send them out on a high,” Millington said. “It is a good opportunity for us to let them leave the place with positive memories.
“I am pretty confident if we all come together and do what we’ve done all year and play like a team, we will succeed in that for them.”
The victors will be just 80 minutes away from the Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday, October 11.
Millington missed last month’s Challenge Cup final defeat by Leeds Rhinos due to a knee injury and admitted: “As soon as I knew I was definitely going to be out of Wembley I put my sights on this competition.
“It was very tough to miss the Challenge Cup final. It’s not very often you get to play in games like that and I was a bit of a grump around the house for a couple of weeks.
“I was pretty hard to live with, but once that competition was over I had a new goal and that was to get to the Grand Final in Super League.
“We have still got a chance to do that. We have got to put in a performance and we have got experience of that.
“We’ve done pretty well in the Challenge Cup, which is all knockout rounds and hopefully we can feed off that experience and use that to just push that bit further (tonight).
“We had enough motivation to perform last week and unfortunately we didn’t do that.
“We’ve got to put that right. It’s probably the best opportunity a lot of these boys have had in this competition and we’ve got to take it with both hands.”