Written by Callum Walker
Prior to Castleford’s defeat against Warrington, the chances of the Tigers reaching the top four were already slim at best following the RFL’s decision to make the table based on win points percentage rather than points.
But, after leading for over 70 minutes, Castleford succumbed to a late sucker punch as a racing Matty Ashton ran from halfway following a Ben Currie break. That stuck a dagger in the hearts of the Tigers who should really have been a lot further in front after a first half of dominance.
As you scoured the realms of social media, that late try was not a surprise to the overwhelming majority of Castleford fans who have come to expect disappointment in recent weeks.
So, with a top four spot seemingly slipping from their grasp, the Tigers may as well look to Sunday’s clash with Hull FC in the Challenge Cup as a way of saving their season. For Daryl Powell’s men, two games in four days isn’t exactly the best way to prepare for a winner-takes-all cup tie, but that’s the cards they have been dealt so they just need to get on with it.
If the Tigers go out of the last 16, that could effectively be the end of any silverware hopes in 2020. Plus, another defeat would make that five losses in six games – a statistic that is more reminiscent of the Ian Millward days rather than those of Powell.
🏆 Daryl Powell has named his Tigers 21-man squad for this Sunday’s @TheChallengeCup tie against Hull FC.
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— Castleford Tigers (@CTRLFC) September 11, 2020
It could be a great distraction for Powell and his players as well as the fans whose alienation with the rule changes in Super League continues to grow.
The frustration within the Castleford fan base is growing; the lack of speed on the edges, the glaringly obvious lack of punch in the middle with the absence of Liam Watts and the complete stifling of creativity has made the post-lockdown rugby far from pleasurable for their fans.
Getting through to the quarter-finals of the cup and mounting a decent run would go some way to alleviating fears of the worst season under Powell since he took over in mid-2013. But, crash out and the pressure will certainly be on.