Castleford coach Daryl Powell has warned his players against complacency in their run-in to the Super 8s – but admits their final three games represent a glorious opportunity to solidify their position inside the top four.
With the rest of the top five still to play one another at some stage before the split, Castleford have games against Huddersfield and Widnes to come – as well as tonight’s visit to Salford.
Many believe that gives the Tigers the easiest run-in of all the title contenders – but Powell has insisted they will not be taking anyone lightly.
“I don’t think there’s any place for complacency,” he said.
“Rugby players never turn up and put 50 per cent in, they’re pretty proud blokes, so you’ve always got to be on your game. If we’re on, we’re alright, we generally do a good job. I’m conscious the players know they need to be on and it’s the job at hand they’re looking at.”
Powell did concede, however, the size of the opportunity at Castleford to lock down a top four spot is one the club are aware of in the coming weeks.
“It’s a chance to cement where we are in the top four and we need to make sure we go there and play as well as we can,” he said.
“I thought we did a great job in putting last week’s sideshow out of the way and getting over the top of Leeds.
“When you look at the fixtures over the final rounds, all those boys in the top five are playing each other. We’re mindful we’ve got to be outstanding in our games, but we’ve got a great chance to be in the top four and give ourselves a real platform working towards the Super 8s and the real tough games you get in that part of the year.”
Without half-back Jamie Ellis tonight, Powell will move fullback QLT into the halves – and he insists he has not yet decided who will take the Samoan’s place at the back yet.
“Q played there (at half-back) earlier in the year at Warrington and did a really good job,” he said.
“I’d be comfortable putting him in there because he fronted up to the defensive side of things really well and handled the attack well too. I need to have a look at Greg Eden and James Clare at fullback too to see what our options are, but it’s a short week.”