CASTLEFORD TIGERS laid down a marker with their 38-20 win at champions Wigan Warriors, Grant Millington says.
Prop Millington reckons the win – without playmakers Ben Roberts and Luke Gale – proves they mean business when the knockout games start in less than two weeks’ time.
“People might say we’ve got nothing to play for, but we are building towards our semi-final,” Millington said. “To go to Wigan, which is always a tough place to go, without our predominant halves and pull that off, it was a great win for us.
“We were scrappy for 15 minutes in the second half and they really came back. We got into a spot where they could have got us, but we pulled it back and came away with a win. It was a fantastic effort from the boys and we have got another big effort to come this week.”
Tigers have eased off for spells in matches during the Super-8s, which they will not be able to do in the sudden-death semi and Grand Final.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a massive concern, but it’s something we definitely have to work on,” Millington admitted. “When you are in front like that sometimes the momentum can flip and it is really, really hard to get back. We were on the back foot and when a side like Wigan start playing hot and off-loading across the field they make it really tough for you.
“When they’ve got nothing to lose because they are behind, they can do that and all the pressure’s off them.
“It all heaps on to us. We have to be mindful of that and we’ll look at it during the week. We’ve got a short week so it will probably be a lighter training week on the paddock.
“But mentally we have to prepare for Hull because they have got some massive boys who can do some big damage to us. We’ve got to be good.”
Hull need a point at the Jungle on Friday to guarantee their place in the top four, but Millington said Tigers will also be treating it as an important game. He stressed: “We are preparing for the semi-final and everyone wants to be on the pitch. One week can make you lose a little bit of your fitness.
“We don’t go into any game lightly, we want to win every game we play. It will be the same sort of thing as Sunday, Wigan needed to win and we knew they would be scrapping for everything and Hull will be similar. They have lost a few here and there around the Challenge Cup final, which was a massive achievement for them, but I am sure they’ll be refocusing to make a push for the top four and to do the double and get both trophies.
“It’s going to be a dangerous game for us. It is a must-win for them and a big game for us.”