Castleford coach Daryl Powell insists his side are in a ‘great position’ to be on track for a second successive shot at making the Super League Grand Final.
The Tigers know victory over Huddersfield in tonight’s televised game will move them ever-closer to another top-four finish – but the real goal is finishing second, guaranteeing a home semi-final in the play-offs.
And Powell, who has had to cope for much of this year without several key players, admits he’s pleased with where his side find themselves heading into the final third of the campaign.
“We’ve had to play without a lot of top line players but we are in a great position to be able to have a shot at getting into the Grand Final again,” he said.
“There’s still a great deal of water to go under the bridge, but there’s a hunger and a desire within the group that we want to take that next step and we have put ourselves in a good position to have a shot at that.”
Castleford are guaranteed an extra home match in the Super 8s by virtue of finishing in the top four before the split, too – something Powell admits is important.
“It’s crucial to have that extra home game in the Super 8s,” said Powell. “We’re pretty happy with the way we’re going at the moment.
“We’ve started to play better at home and I think it’s an important place to finish in the top four, to have that extra home game.
“It gives you a real good chance if you get your home form right to have a great foundation moving forward.”
However, Powell is wary of a Huddersfield side who head across West Yorkshire knowing victory guarantees a top-eight finish for themselves.
“Squad-wise they are strong and pretty much have been able to put the same players out on the field on a consistent basis,” he said of the Giants.
“The pack is really hard working. They are getting after teams at the moment and coming out on top so there’s a challenge to ours.
“But we’ve got an outstanding pack ourselves and, though it’ll be tough, we’re looking forward to this challenge.”