Castleford Tigers v Hull FC - Challenge Cup may bring timely relief for wounded Tigers

FRUSTRATED Paul McShane admits Castleford Tigers are “not clicking” but hopes a change in competition will freshen them up as they face Hull FC in the Challenge Cup tomorrow.

FRUSTRATING TIMES: Castleford Tigers' Paul McShane battles with Warrington's Luis Johnson. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

They are still recovering from Thursday’s “devastating” loss to Warrington Wolves at St Helens, when Matty Ashton’s converted 78th-minute try saw Castleford agonisingly fall 12-10.

They return to the same venue for a rearranged sixth round tie and, after a sixth loss in 11 Super League rounds, the Cup could be their best chance of challenging for silverware in 2020.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Hooker McShane admitted: “We got so close but, as a team, we’re not really clicking at the moment. We’re working hard for each other but just not clicking.

“We’re a bit clunky with the ball especially attacking the try-line. But it’s our concentration, too; they (Warrington) scored a try in the last two minutes of each half and we have to work on that with our composure.”

Hull were also in action Thursday, faring better, nudging past Wakefield Trinity 26-23.

Both sides will be fatigued but – with a place in next Saturday’s quarter-final against Salford Red Devils up for grabs – McShane says that will not be an issue.

“This will be a nice break from Super League; it’s a different focus being a Cup game and we’re looking forward to getting out there,” he added.

BACK IN THE FRAME: Castleford Tigers' Jake Trueman. Picture: Tony Johnson

“We know there’s not much turnaround but Hull are in the same boat. That levels things out.

“It’s just like doing an Easter weekend. And this is the first year we’ve not had the Easter fixtures. I think it will be further down the line, if you make a semi-final, that the backing-up will get tough.”

Castleford have stand-off Jake Trueman back in their squad, while Australian back-row Cheyse Blair could make his first appearance since lockdown and ex-Cronulla Sharks winger Sosaia Feki may finally debut after months of injury issues.

McShane, 30, said: “Hopefully they’re back and it will be a massive boost for us, giving us some fresh bodies, too.

HOPEFUL: Castleford Tigers' new signing, Sosaia Feki. Picture: Tony Johnson.

“I think Cheyse was probably our best player before lockdown and I’m just excited to see Feki.

“He’s been doing it tough and is just desperate to get out there.”

McShane, who helped Castleford win the 2017 League Leaders’ Shield and reach the Grand Final, does not believe their title hopes can yet be ruled out.

“We’ve been unlucky to play all the top-four sides since coming back from lockdown,” added the former Leeds Rhinos rake, who is leading the race for this year’s Steve Prescott Man of Steel.

“It’s been a really tough run of fixtures.

“But they all have to play each other yet so there will be some dropped points.

“We just have to take it game by game now and focus on each one, starting with Hull.

“We know they’ll come all guns blazing. They’ll be wanting to get some confidence in their own game.”

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today.

Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers.

So, please - if you can - pay for our work. Just £5 per month is the starting point. If you think that which we are trying to achieve is worth more, you can pay us what you think we are worth. By doing so, you will be investing in something that is becoming increasingly rare. Independent journalism that cares less about right and left and more about right and wrong. Journalism you can trust.

Thank you, James Mitchinson. Editor.