A TOP-FOUR finish is the focus now for Castleford Tigers chief executive Steve Gill.
Tigers return to First Utility Super League action on Sunday when they play host to Bradford Bulls in their first game since last weekend’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup final defeat by Leeds Rhinos.
Coach Daryl Powell’s side are fifth in the table, four points behind leaders St Helens, one adrift of Wigan Warriors and level with the other members of the top-six, Leeds, Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield Giants.
Players, staff and fans spent Sunday and Monday getting over the disappointment of the Wembley loss, but Gill insisted the entire club are now looking forward to a strong end to the league campaign.
“We have put it behind us now,” Gill stated. We had a civic reception and a homecoming on Monday, which were fantastic, but we have got to move on now.
“You can remember these things, but this is the business end of the season now and where really good teams want to be at the end of the year is in the top-four.
“If we can get there it will be fantastic. There are no hard feeling about the final, we were beaten by the better side on the day, but we all had a great day.
“It has been a slight distraction from the league, it has probably cost us a few points here and there, but you make these sacrifices to be at Wembley.
“Speaking to the players, they are all looking forward to the next game in the league and we know that is going to be tough, because James Lowes has got Bradford playing well.”
Tigers will be hoping for a bumper crowd at Sunday’s game, but Gill said he has no problem with casual fans who made the trip to the final, but do not attend matches on a regular basis.
“I am sure you get that with a lot of clubs that go to Wembley,” he said.
“A lot of neutrals turn up in Tigers colours, but not everybody can get to games.
“When we played Leeds at home earlier in the year, 1,000 people did not turn up, who had either bought a ticket or a season ticket.
“The final was my mum’s first game and she is 76 years old and she has been a Castleford fan for as long as I can remember.
“It was a special day for all Cas fans and if they wanted to come down and share in it, great. If they want to come down and watch us in the league, even better. We would not have wanted anybody to miss out on what was a special day not just for the club, but for the town.”
Tigers are reviewing the way they did things in the build-up to the final and Gill added: “We have gained from the experience.
“If you don’t gain from it, you are missing out and living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.
“We will look back on things we could have done better on a marketing side, but we only had two weeks to prepare.
“That makes it hard, but those are the cards you are dealt.”
Despite the defeat, the chief executive was proud of the team’s effort and admitted he had no complaints about the outcome.
He said: “I thought Leeds played the perfect game. It is hard when somebody plays as well as they did and we were coming out of our own 20 all the time.
“They were deserved winners. We tried to throw the ball about and play our brand, but they played to win the game and hats off to them, their club and their supporters.
“It was a great spectacle and we don’t feel any remorse about what happened, but now we are looking forward to the league.