COACH DARYL Powell has saluted an “awesome” effort from his Castleford Tigers side during the regular season.
Tigers finished third in Betfred Super League and have an eight-point advantage over fifth-placed Huddersfield Giants.
They already have one foot in the semi-finals and, with second-placed Wigan Warriors just one point ahead, securing home advantage is the next target.
“Third after 23 rounds is an awesome effort from everyone when you look at what’s happened to us injury-wise,” Powell said.
“I think we are in a great place moving forward.”
Tigers won 15, drew one and lost seven of their 23 games in the regular season.
“I still think there’s loads to come from us, collectively and individually,” insisted Powell.
“We’ll get some players back, hopefully, over the next three or four weeks and have a real crack at getting some consistency as a team.
“That will give us a great chance of getting into the top-four and being in a good position to go on and get into the Grand Final.
“Everybody’s after that at the start of the season.
“We could be in a better place, we could be where St Helens are [10 points clear at the top], but we are in a great place.”
Third spot secured four home games in the Super-8s.
Fixture for the next phase will be revealed tomorrow.
Tigers already know they will have home games against Warrington Wolves, Huddersfield, Wakefield Trinity and Catalans Dragons and trips to St Helens, Wigan Warriors and Hull.
“We’re not involved in the Challenge Cup so we’ll get a couple of weekends to freshen ourselves up,” Powell added.
“We’ve just got one focus now which is the Super-8s and giving ourselves a great chance of getting to the Grand Final again.”
Tigers came through the 52-24 win at Widnes Vikings two days ago with no new injury concerns.
Widnes led 12-4 after 17 minutes, but Powell said: “We scored four tries in six or seven minutes and that flipped the game.
“The bench came on and did an awesome job and overall it was a great win for us.”