POWERFUL FORWARD Jesse Sene-Lefao says Castleford Tigers are determined to put a painful experience to good use when they visit Salford Red Devils tonight.
Tigers suffered a shock home defeat by St Helens in last week’s Betfred Super-8s opener, but Sene-Lefao insisted they have learned from their mistakes.
“St Helens were too good, they played really well,” Sene-Lefao admitted of the recent setback.
“They hustled really well off the ball and beat us to little wins on the ground.
“It’s what semi-finals footy is all about; it’s a learning curve for us, but also we can’t let it happen again.
“It is never good losing, I don’t like losing, but things like that happen and you learn from your mistakes.
“Last week was a big mistake and hopefully we can bounce back.”
Salford won 13-12 when Tigers visited AJ Bell Stadium in March. They need a win to reverse a recent slide down the table, from second to fifth and Sene-Lefao warned: “These games are all going to be hard, every team we play is going to be hard.
“Every team is trying to get into the top-four and knock us off. It has been the same the last few weeks, we only just won in the last five or 10 minutes.
“It is no surprise every team wants to play their best against us, but we need to get back to winning ways.
“Salford is another big challenge and the week after we’ve got Wakey. We have lost the first game so it’s important for us to bounce back.”
He added: “It’s not just about winning, it is about performing well and getting ready for the big games.
“A lot of people might write us off now, but we can only worry about what we can control.
“What we can control is on the field and hopefully we can go back out and put ourselves in a position to be successful.
“We haven’t won anything yet, we are still challengers in this competition. We really need to put some good performances in.
“That’s our first priority.”
Salford’s revival this year has been led by Ben Murdoch-Masila and Sene-Lefao regards his fellow New Zealand-born forward as a major threat.
“He always plays well against us, I think we are his team he plays well against,” the Cas man said.
“He is very talented, like a lot of their players. They have got Manu Vatuvei now so that’s another plus for them and another challenge for us.
“We have got to beat them. It will be a good challenge and a good experience, I can’t wait.”
Jake Webster is set to return for Tigers from a rib injury tonight and Gadwin Springer is also in contention, along with Tom Holmes.
Larne Patrick drops out from last week’s 17.
Salford are without Kris Welham from the team which lost at Hull last week. Ryan Lannon, Kris Brining and Daniel Murray are vying for a recall.
Salford Red Devils: from O’Brien, Jones, Evalds, Lui, Kopczak, Tomkins, Griffin, Murdoch-Masila, Hauraki, Lannon, Krasniqi, Walne, Brining, Johnson, Bibby, Murray, Carney, Vatuvei, McCarthy.
Castleford Tigers: from Cook, Foster, Gale, Hardaker, Hitchcox, O Holmes, T Holmes, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Monaghan, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Springer, Webster.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.