Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell has stressed that his side’s upturn in form has made them a dangerous team – adding that Super League should beware his side over the remainder of the Super 8s as they have nothing to lose.
The Tigers’ top four hopes remain slim despite wins against Hull FC and Wigan to start the Super 8s, as a run of seven consecutive victories for St Helens has almost shut the door on the chasing pack and the play-off semi-finals.
But as they gear up to face another top-four side this weekend – they travel to Warrington on Saturday afternoon – Powell is again hopeful his side can produce another impressive end-of-season performance.
“Defensively there is more stiffness about us and it’s the second of the Wembley finalists we’ve played in the last three weeks and it’s a great challenge for us. I can’t wait for it,” Powell says.
“They’ll (Warrington) see there’s still a chance of top spot for them but we’ve got nothing to fear and nothing to lose. At the moment things are working for us: we’re a dangerous team at the moment, there’s no doubt about it.
“We felt like a duck waiting to be shot for a while and now we’ve got hold of the gun. There’s nothing for us to fear, we’ll keep having a go at teams and we believe we can be a top four team.”
Powell has pointed to defensive improvements aplenty as part of the reason why he has been so impressed with his side’s recent form above all else.
“We’ve been really good defensively and there’s been a big change. There’s no question we’re a good attacking side, it’s been like that all year for us.
“The defensive mindset has changed and for us to be a top four side, that had to change. We had to tell ourselves we couldn’t keep being how we were in defence and that’s why the end of this season is a bit more about a race for the top four. It’s about steeling ourselves and getting ourselves ready for the future.
“The only time teams have caused us problems is when they’re chasing the game; Hull did it towards the end and Wigan did it too when they chased us late on. We’re enjoying what we’re doing.”
Powell admits the form of fifth-placed Catalans has not entered his thinking, but says that should they manage to usurp the men from Perpignan before the end of the Super 8s, it would represent another significant step forward for his group after such a torrid year with injuries.
“We haven’t really spoken about Catalans,” he says.
“We’ve talked about a few things but there’s a clear line of sight there with them. If we can get another place up on the ladder it would be a massive achievement. Saints are on a roll and it’s difficult to see them dropping points, and the only influence we can have on them is when we play them.”