FRUSTRATED Luke Gale admits his Castleford Tigers side are rueing their missed opportunities as the business end of the season gets underway without them.
They head to Wigan Warriors on Friday in their final Super 8s fixture in fine fettle after stunning leaders Leeds Rhinos at Headingley last Thursday.
However, as good as that 29-22 win was, they know it came a week too late as defeat versus St Helens previously had already ruled out their hopes of finishing in the top four.
Playing like they did against Leeds, when scrum-half Gale was so dynamic in particular, you would fancy Castleford to beat any of the leading four which also includes Wigan, Huddersfield Giants and St Helens.
But, having secured fifth spot, he said: “It’s our consistency that’s let us down.
“We started the season a bit poorly and then our attitude defensively over the last few weeks just let us down.
“That’s what’s frustrating - we know it’s there and we know we can come to places like Leeds and beat them.
“We’re looking forward to next season already. We’ve got a great side but it was always going to take a while anyway to gel as we had that many new faces at the start of the year.”
Gale scored two tries and created another two at Leeds, in a win that has jeopardised their rivals’ hopes of finishing top.
“Leeds are a great side but we know we have plenty of play in us,” he said.
“Some of the tries we scored were fantastic on Thursday.
“We knew we had nothing on our back and we couldn’t get the fourth place so we were playing with a bit of freedom.
“We knew against Leeds that if you just go up the middle they just smother you up so the best way to go about them is to pass it about.
“We just needed to tighten our defence up and going there we did that.
“Then when Benny Roberts and Michael Shenton, people like that, get their hands free, we play off the back of it.
“I thought it was a great performance and we want to finish off with another win at Wigan on Friday where we know it will be tough again.”