Castleford coach Daryl Powell has sent the rallying cry out ahead of arguably the club’s biggest game in years: make sure you deliver tonight to realise your dreams of reaching Old Trafford.
The Super League leaders are one game away from a first ever appearance in the Grand Final, but standing in their way are St Helens, a side who are time-honoured when it comes to play-off rugby and the experiences of it.
And Powell has admitted that these are the kind of games he dreamed the Tigers could play in when he first arrived at the club – and has called on them to not let the opportunity slip tonight.
“It’s all about one night,” he said.
“Finishing top gives us a home game and gives us a good chance to get to Old Trafford – we’ve just got to deliver on the night. They’ll be saying the same and it’s a one-off game for both teams, but we’ve got to make sure we deliver. We’ll make sure we’re nice and relaxed and hopefully we’ll play well.
“It’s awesome. It’s a one-off game to get to the Grand Final – it’s what I’ve spoke about for the last four seasons. Playing in big games, being good enough to finish on top of the pile: I think we’re in a great place, we couldn’t be any better really. It should be a great game.”
Powell also believes that his side are a tricky outfit to predict at the moment. Luke Gale looks increasingly likely to come back in, meaning a third consecutive reshuffle in the halves – with several other big names coming back in after missing last week’s defeat to Hull.
Of their build-up, he said: “It’s been awkward, to be honest. Losing Luke, he hasn’t trained with us, and if you’re looking to pick us at the moment, it’ll be quite difficult.
“Last week against Hull it was a completely different team, the week before against Wigan we had two different halves, and it’ll be an interesting game. But what we did until last week, we maintained our standards after finishing top and I’m not sure anyone expected us to do that as well as we did.”
And inevitably, Powell has identified Saints fullback Ben Barba as their chief threat tonight – and believes they will pick Matty Smith over the youngster, Danny Richardson, at scrum-half.
He said: “I think they’ll go with Matty Smith and experience. Whether they do or not, we’ll find out on the night.
“But there’s a big difference; they started playing a bit more direct than when came off the bench against Salford, so I’d expect that to happen. But Barba is the big one; he’s running lines differently to what they had previously.”