CASTLEFORD Tigers scrum-half Liam Finn knows better than most the danger Championship part-timers Batley Bulldogs will pose his side on Sunday.
Finn, a revelation in Castleford’s surge to the top end of Super League, felt their full force in what amounted to being his last game for Featherstone Rovers last September.
John Kear’s Batley greatly upset the odds by winning at the Championship League Leaders to deny them a place in the Grand Final.
The Ireland captain realises they will be an even trickier prospect on their home ground, Mount Pleasant, and its notorious slope when Castleford head there in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup fourth round.
“I’d forgotten about that (play-off) match,” smiled Finn, who, at 30 and after years in the Championship, was handed his belated Super League chance this season by his former Featherstone coach Daryl Powell.
“I guess I do owe Batley one after that, but I’m sure Mount Pleasant will be an eye-opener for some of our guys.
“They are a pretty good team who, in the Challenge Cup, have twice nearly beaten Huddersfield Giants in recent years and also taken London Broncos close.
“We know it’ll be hard but you never get an easy game up there.”
Finn’s tactical kicking has been vital in Castleford’s fine start, winning six from seven.
He knows all that ability and his recent knowledge of Batley’s famously idiosyncratic field will be tested on Sunday, but warned: “There’s no real answer to it.
“Sometimes you can have just as much joy going up the hill.
“You are always under pressure though on the back of their kicking game there and starting at the bottom of that slope.
“Sometimes you feel like you’re getting a foothold in the game but it can all be undone by one kick on that pitch.”
On his own progress, Finn added: “So far, so good. It helps coming into an environment I’m pretty familiar with and one I’d just left – the same coach, structure and systems.
“I knew I could do a decent job and just needed the chance and for the lads to accept me as a half-back; I do have to boss them around, take control and make them believe I can bring something to the team.
“This week is all about trying to knock off a good Championship team in the cup, but we’ve a pretty tough run in the league, too. We’ll have more of a sense of where we are as a team in five or six weeks’ time.”
Leaders St Helens arrive at Wheldon Road a week today.