Daryl Powell has stoked the flames ahead of the Challenge Cup Final, by admitting that all the pressure is on Leeds, not his Castleford Tigers side.
Powell believes that given Leeds’ extraordinary record with the Challenge Cup in the last 15 years – having lost six finals in a row without tasting success – then his side can approach the game knowing all the pressure will be with their opponents. He also believes that his side have to apply some pressure themselves in the match, and force Leeds into some errors which could potentially tip the balance between two well-match teams.
“The pressure is on them, there’s no doubt about that. There’s no pressure on us – nobody expects us to win apart from us and our camp,” Powell said.
“I think our supporters believe in what we’re about, but everyone else classes Leeds as favourites. The pressure is on them because they’ve lost six in a row – and just because you’ve lost six, it doesn’t mean you’re going to win the seventh. It’s our job to make that happen and heap the pressure on them as the game gets going.
“When you go into a game and you’re not expected to win you can pretty much relax, and that’s how it has been for us this year. We’ve taken some beating this year and we’ve challenged Leeds twice – they were a little bit too good for us in the first game, but we matched them in the second.”
Powell admits that, although it can’t simply be treated as ‘just another game’, his players have to remember that what they do on Saturday afternoon will be just the same as any other week – simply calling it ‘work’.
“It’s very difficult to treat it as just another game, but I think you need to recognize that what you do on the field is the be all and end all. Everyone else can enjoy the occasion, but for us it is work.
“We have to deliver a performance, and I don’t see any reason in getting too attached to the hype surrounding it. We’ve been pretty relaxed and we’re just looking forward to the challenge. These are the games everyone wants to play in, and I know from personal experience that they can produce special moments in your life and your career.”