Hull FC v Castleford: We’re facing new challenge against Tigers, says Lee Radford

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LEE RADFORD hopes his Hull FC squad will ride the wave of positivity, earned while securing a place at Wembley, all the way through the Super 8s.

The league leaders remained on course for an unprecedented treble by winning their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final against Wigan Warriors last Friday.

Hull FC's head coach Lee Radford (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).

Hull FC's head coach Lee Radford (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).

They will play Warrington Wolves in the showpiece on August 27, but are intent on reaching the Grand Final, too.

The Black and Whites begin that quest by hosting Castleford Tigers in their Super 8s opener on Friday.

“There is obviously excitement with how results have gone,” admitted Radford.

“After making the final the last thing you should do as a coach is dampen that down, but the challenge now for us is a new competition at a different point in the season.

“Performances are the acid test; everyone has had a spring in their step at training but the real measure of them will be how they turn up and perform on Friday.

“It’s a challenge to keep the momentum going. With the eights format now things start fresh for us.”

He continued: “Taking all that aside, playing Castleford will be a tough test.

“It’s two evenly matched teams going up against each other.

“They have already beaten us once at our place and they should have edged us out the last time we played over there; I felt we got lucky that day.

“It will be a difficult encounter.”

Castleford finished sixth after 23 rounds, but only Warrington – second behind Hull – scored more than the Tigers’ 617 points.

“We have to try and make them come from their own end as much as we possibly can,” conceded Radford.

“They’re a very dangerous side with set-pieces. If you invite them up your end of the field then they will put points on the board.

“They started better than us at their place and got out of the blocks quick. The beginning of the game will be huge and it’s key we negate their efforts.”

Hull have a doubt over prolific winger Fetuli Talanoa while his centre Mahe Fonua must pass a concussion test after departing in the second half against Wigan following a heavy collision.

“Fetuli has a bit of sickness so we’ll give him as long as we can,” said Radford.

“We’ll see how he rolls up tomorrow but if he’s not any good, Curtis Naughton will probably jump in there.

“It would be a great opportunity for him and that’s the same for many players in the squad; everyone is vying for a Challenge Cup final spot. Nobody wants to miss out on selection for that.”