Finishing in Super League's top eight might not sound like cause for dancing in the street, but for many clubs that is what defines the difference between an acceptable season and a disappointing one.
That is certainly true of the three clubs contesting the two remaining play-off places today – Castleford, Hull and Hull KR.
Cas, who this week unveiled Ian Millward as their new coach for next term, have been in the top eight all season; they were even, briefly, top. However, much of the impetus has gone out of them, especially since their Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Leeds – a game the Tigers felt they could and should have won.
For the meeting with Hull, just a point and a place behind them, Cas have Nick Fozzard, Joe Arundel and possibly Paul Jackson returning from injury to help Terry Matterson carry on his coaching tenure into the play-offs. "It's in our hands," Matterson said. "We can finish anywhere from sixth to ninth and I'm hoping Leeds will slip up and we can get a home semi." Hull, who have struck some impressive form recently, have Kirk Yeaman back from suspension.
Hull KR, a further point behind after a dismal first half of the season, will overtake the losers of that game if they beat the Catalan Dragons in Perpignan this evening. Rovers are still without the suspended Blake Green.
The Warrington coach, Tony Smith, has sprung a surprise by naming his captain, Adrian Morley, in his squad to face Wigan tomorrow in the match that could decide the League Leaders' Shield. Morley has missed the last nine matches with double vision following a head and eye injury, but Smith is clearly keen to have him on the field for a game of this importance.Reuse content