Wembley won’t be a distraction for Castleford Tigers says Jesse Sene-Lefao
CASTLEFORD TIGERS won’t let Wembley be a distraction, according to their New Zealand-born forward Jesse Sene-Lefao.
Tonight’s visit of Hull comes just five days after Tigers’ epic Betfred Challenge Cup final win over Warrington Wolves.
Tigers lost all three Super League matches between the Cup quarter-finals and last Saturday and with the final more than a month away, Sene-Lefao reckons they have to use that as an incentive in the weekly competition.
“It is definitely something we can work towards, because we know we can’t go into the final not playing well,” he insisted.
“We have to go in with some form and I think we will definitely use some of these games to get our game right.
“But at the same time, we want to win this comp’ as well. A lot of our energy and our focus will be for this week’s game.
“We were three losses on the bounce going into that Challenge Cup game and a lot of people had written us off, so that game is definitely going to give us some momentum.
“We need to get going again [in Super League] and Hull FC are playing pretty good, so I am pretty excited.”
If Tigers can play like they did against Warrington, they will be a tough team to beat, but Sene-Lefao reckons there is “a lot of room for improvement”.
He admitted: “We haven’t been playing at our standards, the last three weeks before the Cup semi.
“It is a very big challenge this week, Hull FC are definitely one of the top four teams so we have got to bring our A-game.”
The fixture has sold out and after losses to Hull KR and Leeds Rhinos in their two home matches in front of fans this year, Sene-Lefao admits Tigers need to put on a show.
He said: “Our last game at the Jungle isn’t one we’d like to remember, especially for our fans.
“They deserve a lot, they have missed a lot of rugby and we haven’t got a win for them at the Jungle yet this year, so we will be pushing for that.
“On the weekend they were awesome, it was good to see them smiling again and singing Sweet Caroline.”
Tigers are without three-try winger Jordan Turner and half-backs Jake Trueman and Gareth O’Brien from their semi-final winning side.
George Griffin is available after suspension, Danny Richardson is recalled and Tyla Hepi, Lewis Bienek, Lewis Peachey, Brad Martin and Brad Graham are also in contention.
Mitieli Vulikijapani has been recalled from a loan spell at Bradford Bulls and replaces Josh Griffin (Achilles) in Hull’s initial 21-man squad.
Bureta Faraimo, Jordan Johnstone, Ben McNamara and Connor Wynne are the other players vying for a call into the 17.
Castleford Tigers from: Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Holmes, Milner, Massey, Griffin, Foster, O’Neill, Hepi, Clare, Sene-Lefao, Matagi, Turner, Bienek, Peachey, Martin, Graham.
Hull from: Connor, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Fonua, Reynolds, Sneyd, Houghton, Satae, Savelio, Ma’u, Sao, Johnstone, Lane, Fash, McNamara, Brown, Swift, Bowden, Wynne, Scott, Vulikijapani.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).
Kick-off: Today, 7.45pm.
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