Warrington vs Castleford
7:45pm Thursday 19th September
Halliwell Jones Stadium
We have a look at some essential issues and also have all the team news ahead of Thursday’s Super League elimination final between Warrington Wolves and Castleford Tigers…
Last month the Challenge Cup may have been secured, but Warrington enter the play-offs about the rear of a run of results in the league as the end of July.
The natives have won two of the last eight fixtures in the contest, which has seen them slide from being in contention for its League Leaders’ Shield to completing fourth.
Last Friday’s defeat away to Leeds Rhinos saw Salford Red Devils leapfrog them into third at the season’s last round, leaving Steve Price’s side facing an elimination game at home to Castleford up.
But the win over St Helens, the team in Super League this year, in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley showed the very best the division has to offer on daily can be matched by the Wolves.
That bad run of results and winger Josh Charnley putting it down go through during a season are not playing on the heads of the group ,.
“It is only at the wrong end of the year,” Charnley told Sky Sports. “Some teams also have it halfway or at the beginning, but ours has only come at the wrong time.
“We’re fully focussed on performing the task, taking each week as it comes, and hopefully in four months we will be back in Old Trafford.”
You have to check at his haul out of the club end-of-season awards night to have an idea of the effect Liam Watts had created in 2019 in Castleford .
The prop picked up Castleford’s player of the year, players’ player of the year and fans’ player of the year prizes, the latter of these seeing him voted with a record margin as winner.
Watts was also awarded the Immortals Award, which this year has been voted by Castleford greats Arthur Atkinson, Alan Hardisty, Keith Hepworth, Mal Reilly and John Joyner.
The 29-year-old has captured the attention off from the Mend-A-Hose Jungle too, making a spot at the Super League Dream Team, being one of the contenders to the Man of Steel award once the voting was public and earning a call-up into the England Performance Squad.
Watts has been lead Castleford’s figures in terms of metres and tackles emphasising his value to the group from attack and defence, along with making more offloads than every other player in Super League this season.
Warrington’s forward will be wary of the danger Watts poses, while the forward is very likely to play a big role in if the Tigers will realise hopes of becoming on a run in the play-offs and replicating their 2017 Grand Final appearance.
Head coach Daryl Powell has been set to have his choices in the Castleford front diminished with this match and a potential match after Jesse Sene-Lefao was banned for two matches
For going in along with his knees to the house side Oliver Partington sene-Lefao was given the suspension after his red card in last Friday defeat to Wigan Warriors.
Powell is currently mulling whether or not to appeal the ban in an effort to clear the Samoa global for Thursday’s excursion to the Halliwell Jones Stadium, but declared he’ll be a big miss for the Tigers.
“We will have a conversation about what we’re likely to perform, but obviously it’s a small blow for us if he’s going to miss the game,” Powell explained. “Jesse has been playing fairly well for us.”
Warrington are without one of their squad members as well, with current recruit Matty Smith being suspended for the elimination after being found guilty of contact at the 26-4 loss off to Leeds.
With the hosts with the edge in the head to go, thursday’s play-off experience marks the time Castleford and Warrington have met in 2019.
Two first-half attempts from Jake Mamo set the Wolves in the Halliwell Jones Stadium in March in their way to success, with Jack Hughes and Ben Murdoch-Masila crossing as well to secure a 24-10 win and also condemn the Tigers.
The assembly at the Jungle at the beginning of May produced a similar outcome, together with the visitors emerging 26-14 victors for Ben Currie and Mike Cooper thanks to two tries from Toby King, and one apiece.
However, Castleford turned the tables on Warrington when the groups reconvened triumphing.
Warrington head coach Cost has made two changes to his squad last Friday, out of the team that were beaten away to Leeds.
Harvey Livett and Lama Tasi the two come back to the group, together with Sitaleki Akaoula along with the suspended Smith that the two players creating way.
Sene-Lefao is not contained in Castleford group, if any possible appeal from his suspension is so still successful, but may play a role.
Nathan Massey drops out of Powell’s 19 too, together using forward and hooker Jacques O’Neill Will Maher returning to the group in their own place.
Warrington Wolves 19-man squad: Blake Austin, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Jason Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Bryson Goodwin, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Harvey Livett, Jake Mamo, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Declan Patton, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Lama Tasi, Ben Westwood
Castleford Tigers 19-man squad: Cheyse Blair, James Clare, Chris Clarkson, Matt Cook, Jamie Ellis, Oliver Holmes, Will Maher, Peter Mata’utia, Mike McMeeken, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Adam Milner, Greg Minikin, Jacques O’Neill, Jordan Rankin, Daniel Smith, Jake Trueman, Calum Turner, Liam Watts