Wigan Warriors v Castleford Tigers: Alex Sutcliffe eyes away-day boost

A WIN at Wigan Warriors tonight could be a turning point in Castleford Tigers’ season, according to tough-tackling second-rower Alex Sutcliffe.

By Peter Smith
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 5:55 am

Tigers have lost four of their five Betfred Super League fixtures so far and are second from bottom in the table, but Sutcliffe reckons the next three matches are vital.

Tigers visit Sutcliffe’s former club Leeds Rhinos in a Challenge Cup sixth round tie a week on Saturday and face Toulouse, Super League’s bottom club, at the Jungle six days later.

Wigan is always a big game, you’re always looking for them when the fixtures come out,” Sutcliffe said.

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Castleford Tigers' Alex Sutcliffe in action against Hudderfield Giants. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

“We need to get back to winning and hopefully if we tick off a win this week we can build on that going into the Cup and Toulouse in the league the week after.

“It would bring some confidence, beating Wigan at Wigan – it would do us all good.”

Wigan lost their 100 per cent record when they were hammered 28-0 at Catalans Dragons last Saturday.

“No-one’s really found any consistency, other than St Helens,” Sutcliffe noted of the season’s early rounds.

George Griffin left is in contention to play at Wigan tonight. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

“Saints have been good, but it seems to be whoever’s best on the day is going to turn up and win, so hopefully we can turn up and do a good job [tonight].”

Tigers played well for 20 minutes at Huddersfield five days ago, hitting back from 18-0 down to lead 24-18, before the hosts scored three converted tries to seal a 35-24 victory.

Sutcliffe said: “We just need to be better at little things for longer.

“It’s all right doing it for 20 minutes, but it’s not a 20-minute game, it is an 80-minute game.

“We have to be better from the start and hopefully we can do that this week.”

Sutcliffe, who made his debut for Leeds away to Wigan in 2017, has been enjoying regular game time at Castleford, despite the disappointing results.

“I am loving it, it has been class,” he said.

“Obviously the results haven’t been the best and have been fairly disappointing, but I am loving getting the game time and really enjoying it here.”

Despite having to leave the field against Huddersfield, Sutcliffe has been included in Tigers’ squad for this evening and confirmed: “I am fit.”

He said: “I have got a little knee problem, it is nothing major.

“I am still playing and running, it is just a bit sore.

“It’s about managing it.”

Tigers will be without Jordan Turner who suffered a fractured hand in last week’s game, but George Griffin is back in contention after injury and Bureta Faraimo returns after a two-match ban.

Jake Mamo, James Clare and Brad Martin retain their places in the initial 21-man squad after not being selected for last week’s team.

Wigan forwards Brad Singleton and Kaide Ellis were both suspended following incidents in last week’s defeat.

Harry Smith, Ethan Havard, Oliver Partington, Abbas Miski, Brad O’Neill and Sam Halsall are the players vying to replace them in the 17.

Wigan Warriors: from Bibby, Hardaker, Marshall, Cust, Leuluai, Powell, Mago, Isa, Farrell, Bateman, Smithies, H Smith, Partington, Havard, Byrne, Pearce-Paul, Shorrocks, Field, Miski, Halsall, O’Neill.

Castleford Tigers: from Olpherts, Mamo, Faraimo, Trueman, Watts, McShane, Lawler, Edwards, Westerman, Griffin, Fonua, Hepi, Clare, Sutcliffe, D Smith, Eden, Blair, Matagi, Martin, O’Brien, Robb.

Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).

Kick-off: Today, 8pm.

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