Write Castleford Tigers off at your peril says Jordan Turner
LEAGUE FORM counts for nothing in knockout rugby, Castleford Tigers’ Jordan Turner says.
Tigers’ Wembley hopes rest on them pulling out of a slump and overturning the odds against Warrington Wolves in today’s Betfred Challenge Cup semi-final at Leigh.
Turner scored Tigers’ only try in their 60-6 home drubbing by Leeds Rhinos eight days ago, which was their third successive Super League defeat.
To add to the challenge, Tigers will face a Warrington team who have lost only twice this season - including to Castleford in their opening game - and are in red-hot form following a 62-18 demolition of Salford Red Devils last time out.
Recent results - and last week’s poor performance - seem to have made an already-difficult task that bit more daunting, but Turner insists none of that matters when a Cup final place is at stake.
“It was going to be a tough game anyway,” Turner said.
“Form in the league hasn’t been great for us, but I think that is pretty irrelevant coming into this game.
“It is a semi-final, the Challenge Cup and anything can happen.
“We are getting quite a few players back so the team will look a lot different.
“I understand people will see we have been in a rut for the last couple of games, but there’s been reasons behind that and I feel like we’ll be more than prepared and being the underdog suits us.”
Tigers have often been most dangerous when written off.
Warrington carry the weight of being favourites this week, but Turner stressed: “The Challenge Cup hasn’t really got anything to do with form.
“It is a mindset and a mentality, how you deal with the week leading into the game and getting your preparation right.
“I think Warrington will be expecting a tough game from us; I don’t think they’ll be thinking it will be easy.
“The Cup motivates people in different ways and we might have one of those days when everyone is completely motivated by something deep within.
“I think that’s what usually wins you Challenge Cups.
“It is knockout football and throughout the years in Challenge Cups you’ve seen plenty of upsets and games that didn’t go to plan.
“Take, for example, Salford last year - they weren’t great in the league and managed to get to the final - and Leeds, in fact.”
Today is Tigers’ first Challenge Cup semi-final since 2014, when they beat Widnes Vikings before losing to Leeds at Wembley.
Castleford have not won the competition since 1986 and Turner, even in his first year there, knows what it would mean to end that long, barren spell, particularly in coach Daryl Powell’s final season before he takes charge at Warrington next term.
“It’s special to be in any final, but there’s quite a bit of deep-rooted emotion this year at Cas, with Daryl leaving and maybe a few other people moving on,” he pointed out.
“The hope is that is something that pulls us through and gets us to the final.”
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