Castleford Tigers scrum-half and playmaker Liam Finn admits he and his team-mates have just four days to learn the ‘art of play-offs football’.
Warrington Wolves make the trip to the MAH Jungle on Thursday evening in an elimination tie that would take Cas to within 80 minutes of a first-ever Super League Grand Final.
Tigers are relative novices when it comes to the end-of-season finals series but will have a better idea of what’s expected of them after last week’s heavy defeat to St Helens.
Cas were embarrassed 41-0 at the League Leaders’ Shield victors to miss out on the chance of earning this week off and heading straight to the semis.
Although Castleford have been a revelation this term, they have toiled since losing the Challenge Cup final to Leeds Rhinos at Wembley last month.
Finn said: “The top teams find a way to come good at this time of year and we need to do that pretty quickly.
“We must take a leaf out of their book if we want to progress our season this week. The simple fact of the matter is there has to be a marked improvement.
“We need to find something for Thursday to deliver a good performance and we’ve spoken about not wanting to ruin a good season and have a lasting memory of the way we finish like this (Saints defeat).
“As a team we don’t deserve that. The fans certainly don’t. We feel we’ve produced an entertaining style this year and we want to finish with them thinking about us in that manner.
“We were in the game for the first half at Saints and did a lot of things right. But then we pushed the pass and made a couple of wrong choices to go in 13-0 down.
“The last 30 minutes, though, were just not up to standard at all. We dropped off completely and it was no where near good enough.”
Warrington are striving to reach Old Trafford for the third successive year and finally win the trophy but suffered a real scare in Saturday’s eliminator.
Tony Smith’s side, who finished fifth just behind Castleford, were 18-0 down at home to eighth-placed Widnes Vikings before a Joel Monaghan hat-trick inspired a remarkable 22-19 win. Asked whether the highs of reaching Wembley for the first time in 22 years had left Castleford now jaded, Finn replied: “It’s hard to say without hindsight.
“It’ll be at the end of the year we’ll know what this season’s done to us.
“But we’ve Warrington first and obviously they are as good a team as any in the comp’.
“It’s a massive task but we have to learn fast in the next few days to get over them.”
Forward Lee Jewitt (groin) should return for Castleford.