CASTLEFORD TIGERS are seeking “redemption” against St Helens today, forward Oliver Holmes says.
The BBC-televised Ladbrokes Challenge Cup sixth round tie is the sides’ second meeting of the season and comes three months after Tigers were hammered 46-6 at Saints in Betfred Super League round one.
“It was a bit of a drubbing so to knock them out of the Cup would be a bit of redemption,” Holmes said.
Saints have been the outstanding side this season, but Holmes reckons the Cup could bring the best out of Tigers, who won 53-10 when the teams clashed at the same stage of the Cup last year.
He said: “There’s a different feeling building up into the game this week. We haven’t had a good Cup run for a while, since 2014 when we actually got to the final. They are the form team at the minute. To win the Cup you have got to beat the best so why not start with Saints in the first round for us?”
Though Tigers are on the back of a 32-12 defeat at Hull a week ago, Holmes was more encouraged by that performance than after some of the recent wins.
“We came out of it with some real positives,” he said. “It was the first time in a long time we showed that attacking flair. We haven’t really shown that this year.
“We are feeling a lot better than the scoreline would suggest. The scoreline is pretty harsh. I don’t think it should have got away from us that much. There were a couple of late tries and we were throwing the ball about in the second half trying to get it back.
“Personally, I came off the pitch a bit frustrated and feeling that game got away from us. We came out in the second half and showed a bit of quality with the ball and put ourselves in good positions to score points.
“I just felt like we couldn’t put the ball over the line. If a couple of decisions went our way I think it would have been a completely different game.
“We felt a bit hard done by, but credit to Hull, their scramble defence was pretty good in the second half.”
While Tigers are struggling with injuries, Holmes is enjoying his run in the side. He said: “I haven’t played this consistently for about two years. The knee is absolutely fine, it’s the best it has felt for a long time. I am happy to be playing and I’m getting a lot of minutes under my belt. I feel like I am building a game and building a bit of consistency about me and getting back to where I want to be.”
Jake Webster and Nathan Massey could return today following injury and Jy Hitchcox has been recalled from his loan spell at Bradford Bulls. Calum Turner drops out from last week’s side.
Tigers are still without key players including Ben Roberts, Greg Eden and Luke Gale and Holmes admitted: “We are doing it tough at the minute. We have got some real key injuries in key parts of our team which is frustrating, but it’s rugby league and you’ve got to deal with it.”
Star full-back Ben Barber is set to return for Saints and Ben Swift is also added to the 17 who beat Catalans Dragons last week.
Castleford Tigers: from Cook, Ellis, Foster, Hitchcox, Holmes, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Moors, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Springer, Trueman, Wardle, Watts, Webster.
St Helens: from Lomax, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Swift, Fages, Smith, Roby, Amor, Taia, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles, Thompson, Peyroux, Richardson, Grace, Barba.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).
Kick-off: Today, 2.30pm.