THERE WILL be no “meaningless” games for Castleford Tigers this year, England half-back Luke Gale insists.
Tigers will seal top spot in the Betfred Super-8s – with four games in hand – if they beat Wakefield Trinity at the Jungle on Thursday.
With the race for the other three semi-final places likely to go down to the wire, Castleford’s prospective semi-final and Grand Final opponents will all be playing vital, must-win matches.
But Gale insisted there is no danger of Castleford taking their foot off the gas, or going into the vital knock-out fixtures under-prepared.
“I don’t think that is in Powelly’s vocabulary,” he said of coach Daryl Powell. “It is not in his DNA; all games mean something and he instills that into us.
“We will be playing to win all those games.”
Tigers are 10 points clear of second-placed Leeds Rhinos with five games remaining and a points difference advantage of more than 300 means they will not be caught.
“I am really pleased for the boys,” Gale stated.
“We have got the chance to make history. Castleford have never won the league leaders and it would be nice to get it in our hands on Thursday, at our home ground.
“It was like it was meant to happen, in a home game against Wakefield. The boys are pumped. We have worked hard for it, but there’s still a long way to go. The league leaders is one thing, but we want to go all the way.
“Once we achieve the league leaders then the focus will pick up on the semi-final, the game that gets us to the Grand Final.We will just take one game at a time and look forward to this week.”
Tigers bounced back from the previous week’s shock home defeat by St Helens with a 23-4 win at Salford Red Devils three days ago.
They were put under pressure at times, but Gale said “We spoke about building pressure a bit more and not going for too much.
“Paul McShane said to me after the game ‘did we play too boring’? But we won 23-4. We didn’t, but we knew it was going to be tough and it was finals footy. We are pleased with how we handled it and the good thing about this team is whenever we’ve had a loss we have always backed it up with a good performance.
“We learn a lot from our losses. We were 12 unbeaten before the St Helens game and you kind of need that to give you a bit more focus.
“Losses are never bad if you are learning from them.”