Oliver Holmes has had precious little to cheer about this year: which is why he’s bemused by everyone telling him he and his team-mates have got nothing to play for over the next few weeks.
Like many of the Castleford Tigers squad this season, Holmes has endured a 2016 ravaged by injuries, with one lengthy lay-off in particular limiting the forward to just a handful of games in 2016.
But having been back in the Tigers team since the start of July – prior to that, he had played just four times in the first four months of the season – Holmes has identified a strong finish in each and every game they play, starting with tonight’s clash against Wigan.
And for Holmes, calls that the Tigers’ slim top-four hopes mean they have nothing to play for are falling firmly on deaf ears.
“It’s a load of rubbish saying we’ve nothing to play for,” he told TotalRL.
“You don’t go out there just to make the numbers up; as sportsmen we want to win. Nobody wants that feeling after a loss whether you’ve got something to play for or not. We won’t die out or let this season die out.
“I feel pretty fresh; I’ve missed a fair few games this year and I’ve only played in two home games which has been disappointing. To get back out there and put another good performance in for the fans would be special.”
The Tigers have come up short against Wigan on all three occasions they have faced them this year – and as they bid to avoid a clean sweep of losses to Shaun Wane’s side in 2016 tonight, Holmes admits the extra incentive of doing it at home is all the motivation they require.
“It’s always important to put on a show at home for us, but especially against Wigan, who have beaten us three times this year already.
“It’s something we want to put right and give something back to the fans, especially those who travelled over in the quarter-final in such good numbers.
“It’s not often you get to play a team four times in the year, and we don’t want to be beaten by them four times.
“We’ve had a patched-up squad throughout the year but looking at that result last week it shows what we could have done had we had some more guys fit – so it is frustrating.”
And Holmes is in no doubt about what has to happen between now and the end of the Super 8s for Castleford’s season to remain alive.
“We’ve got to win every game I think,” he said.
“There’s no other way about it and we need a fair few fixtures to go our way as well if I’m being honest. It may be taken out of our hands at some point but if that is the case we want to roll into next year having finished really strong.”