“Revenge”, “right a few wrongs” – there is no doubting that Luke Gale came up with all the right soundbites this week to tee up tonight’s mouthwatering table-topping clash with Hull FC.
In essence, the script writes itself. Midway through the season, nobody appears to have the formula to beat Castleford: except Hull. Of the four times the Tigers have lost this year, two of them have been to the Black and Whites. They are, without sugar-coating it, Castleford’s Achilles heel.
But Gale, who played in the most recent of those defeats just a fortnight ago, has certainly not tried to hide behind the “just another game” mantra. This is serious. This is what top-of-the-table grudge matches are all about. Hull have irked Castleford – and that’s great for us neutrals.
“It’s a massive night on Friday,” he admits.
“Like we have with Leeds, they’ve beaten us twice and we’ll be up for revenge. It’ll be a great game and nice to get one over on them as they’ve done us twice – we need to right a few wrongs from the last couple of times they’ve played us.
“You can’t discredit how they’ve played against us, they’ve played well twice and got over us. Our boys will be looking to respond and I’m really confident we will.”
Hull have certainly had Castleford’s number so far this season, but a third straight win against the Tigers tonight would send out the clearest message yet that FC are title contenders. Not only would it represent the Hull hoodoo continuing, but it would represent Castleford’s first loss at home this year.
Gale says: “We’re a different team here; we play our best stuff here and we love being down here so I’m sure the fans will come down in numbers and support us. It’ll be a great atmosphere on Friday night.”
But one thing Gale is expecting is a rip-roaring affair between the two sides widely perceived to be Super League’s best.
“We only played them two weeks ago so normally you’d come in and preview a team in depth but we played them recently so it’s fresh in the mind,” he says.
“We know what their dangers are; they’ve got good wingers and the pack is strong and they’ll be coming for us. If you’re looking at points you’d have to say we’re the best two teams. They started indifferently but they’ve come good; they’re in the semis of the cup and they knocked us off last time so it’ll be a good game.”