‘Warriors the team under pressure’

Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane

Daryl Powell insists all the pressure is on Wigan when he brings his Castleford side to the DW Stadium tomorrow.

The table-topping Tigers secured the league leaders’ shield earlier in the Super-8s, making their home run all about maintaining form before they go into the semi-finals.

But Wigan know a defeat would take their own play-offs hopes out of their hands, and Powell said: “There’s no pressure on us for this game.

“We’ll go there with some confidence in whichever team takes the field will be competitive.

“All the pressure is on them, they’ve got to win the game. We can go there and play and we’ll certainly have some intensity and confidence about us. The pressure is on them at home - that’s the way I see it.”

The result tomorrow may shape who Castleford face in their home semi-final, for a place at Old Trafford.

Whoever finishes fourth will head to the Jungle, and Powell said: “Whoever we play in fourth are going to have some momentum behind them, just because they’ve got into fourth as a result of this battle that’s ongoing.

“It will be tough no matter what happens - and it’s interesting to see who will finish third and fourth.

“They’ll all be tough teams, but we’re at home, and that’s the biggest advantage for us. It’ll be highly unlikely I’d say I prefer one team to another, even if I had private thoughts one team would be easier: which I don’t, to be honest.”

Tomorrow’s match will be Castleford’s first since Luke Gale underwent emergency appendix surgery.

“You don’t expect an illness like this to crop up - it’s sod’s law,” he added. “You expect injuries and players to pick them up, but what can you do? There’s no point worrying about it, it’s one of those freak situations which happens. Tony Clubb had a kidney problem earlier in the year and we’re all human - now and again, we get ill.”

Shaun Wane says he hopes to take a leaf from the playbook of Hull FC, who have notched two wins against the Tigers this year.

“Cas’ have been the most consistent team and quite rightly they won the league leaders,” he said. “But the one sudden-death game they played, the main one, they got beat - Hull found a way to get the win, and we need to do that. They’re a hard team to break down, no question. They have some big ball-carriers who get some wins, and threats throughout the team.

“We want the points, but our motivating factor is they’ve not seen anywhere near the best of us. I want us to perform. If we do that, we’ve got a chance of beating them.”

Meanwhile, Wane said they will seek further advice next week on Dom Manfredi’s knee injury.

The winger has not played a first-team game since damaging the joint in a game at Castleford last year and didn’t finish his comeback, in a reserve game.

Wane is resigned to Manfredi not playing until next year. “We’ve gone for a second opinion next week,” he added.