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The semi-final play-offs are here and the eliminator sees out-of-form Warrington take on out-of-sorts Castleford. Neither side covered themselves in glory in the last round of the regular season with Warrington succumbing 26-4 to an improved Leeds side and Castleford going down 26-8 at Wigan.
The Tigers had to rely on St Helens overcoming Hull FC to gain that fifth spot, but they are in the play-offs after an inconsistent season – though finishing fifth means that Castleford will play all their play-off games away from home. The West Yorkshire side have won three times in six games. Warrington, on the other hand, have just one win in six league games though they have the Challenge Cup success amongst all of this.
Anyone knows that both sides can wreak havoc if they play to their best of their abilities. However, which Warrington and Castleford side will turn up? The Wolves side that beat St Helens in the Challenge Cup Final or the one that lost at Leeds in dismal fashion? Will it be the Castleford side that thrashed Hull FC at home or the one that was trounced by Wigan?
Harvey Livett and Lama Tasi return for Steve Price’s Warrington with Sitaleki Akauola and Matty Smith dropping out. Tigers boss Daryl Powell has named Jacques O’Neill and Will Maher in his 19-man squad as Nathan Massey and Jesse Sene-Lefao step out due to injury and suspension respectively.
With Warrington already enjoying silverware success in 2019, their eyes may well be wandering off of the Super League prize. Castleford, meanwhile, do not play too well in one-off big games – a feature of the Tigers under Daryl Powell – but they do have what it takes to overcome a Wire side no longer desperate for trophies.