Peter Mata’utia believes the four Super League clubs in the Qualifiers are in danger of a shock at the hands of their Championship counterparts.
The Castleford fullback spent the first part of the season playing in the second tier as part of a Leigh side that failed to make the top four.
Mata’utia was one of the star attractions in the competition, but having experienced first-hand the quality and toughness currently in the second-tier, the Tigers star has warned the likes of Leeds and Hull KR to prepare for an almighty battle against their lower league opponents.
“I didn’t know what to expect to be honest,” Mata’utia said of the Championship.
“What I can say now is that it’s the toughest rugby I’ve played. I was bashed up a lot and the banter was pretty good too.
“There’s a lot of good players and jeez, those teams that have got to play in the middle 8s, I’d be worried, to be honest. They play some good footy in the Championship and it’s pretty tough.”
Widnes will be the first Super League side to face Championship opposition when they host London on Thursday before Toulouse travel to face the Rhinos.