Mahe Fonua and Castleford Tigers still fighting for play-off place

Mahe Fonua is focused on sealing another play-off appearance under Lee Radford as Castleford Tigers try to bounce back from defeat at Huddersfield Giants.

Inconsistent Castleford face their former coach Daryl Powell at Warrington Wolves on Thursday, then host Salford Red Devils next Monday (the August 29 Bank Holiday) and are desperate not the let their top-six hopes crumble.

Three defeats in the last four games have left them with a twelve wins, twelve losses record, and slowed a resurgence sparked by five victories in six between June 12 (20-14 at Toulouse Olympique) and July 22 (46-18 at Hull FC).

Durable Tonga international back Fonua, signed ahead of this season, who has played in every Tigers Super League game this season, was part of the Radford-coached Hull side who not only won the Challenge Cup in 2016 and 2017, but also featured in the semi-finals of the play-offs in both years.

In his second spell at Hull, Fonua also played in the last four of the play-offs in 2020, the season Radford was sacked seven matches in and replaced in an interim capacity by Andy Last, who is now his right-hand man at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

The 29-year-old, who has also been at Melbourne Storm and Wests Tigers and represented the Combined Nations All Stars against England in June, feels he is finally hitting his something like his top form.

“It took a couple of weeks at the start of the year to get through that teething stage, but the reason I wanted to come and play under Radders again is because he shows me that faith and confidence,” he explained.

“He stuck with me through a little rough patch, and I think I’ve come out of the other end.

“I always wanted to find my form again and I knew Radders would be able to help me do that.”

The Tigers went down 36-10 at the John Smith’s Stadium, and Radford reflected: “We had no middles unfortunately, so we knew physically we were not going to impose ourselves on Huddersfield.

“We’re patching up, we’re playing out of position, we’re scrapping, we’re having a crack and we will continue to do that and fight as hard as we can to make that fifth or sixth spot.”

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