THURSDAY’S HOME home showdown with Hull FC is a “knockout game” for Castleford Tigers, coach Daryl Powell says.
With two rounds remaining Tigers are sixth in Betfred Super League, two points behind sixth-placed Hull.
“If we win it we go above them on points difference and if we lose that’s it,” Powell said. “That’s what it’s all about – if you are ever going to win anything you have got to win these knockout games.
“This is like a knockout game. There’s still a game after it, but we have to get this right.”
Of Tigers’ form, Powell added: “With the ball we are doing some great things – we are second in the competition on metres made this year so we’re not having any problems getting away from our own line.
“Execution-wise, we’d want to be a bit better in attacking positions, but defensively we’ve conceded two tries in the last three games in total.
“We are in a good place from that perspective and we have to turn up and play well, play with the mindset we have to win this game.”
Hull are the only team in the top-five who have conceded more points than they have scored.
Powell observed: “They have had some big scores against them over the season, which is a bit strange because they can clearly beat the better sides and they’ve got the players to be an outstanding rugby league team.
“They have won one of the last five, but that doesn’t matter too much. It is almost like a one-off game this one. It is important for both teams. If they hit their best form they are really difficult to handle; if they are on their worst form they’ve been conceding a few points. We just have to concentrate on ourselves and make sure we are where we need to be.”
Nathan Massey will undergo a fitness test tomorrow after picking up a knock in last Friday’s defeat at St Helens.
Meanwhile, Tigers centre Kieran Gill has signed a one-year contract with League One club Newcastle Thunder, where he has been playing on loan this year.
Powell says he expects scrum-half Luke Gale to be at Castleford next year, despite rumours linking him with Leeds Rhinos.