IT WAS the corresponding fixture almost 12 months to the day that really made people sit up and take notice of Castleford Tigers.
Granted, they had already beaten Bradford Bulls, Catalan Dragons and Hull KR for a 100 per cent start but when Luke Dorn scored a try in the final seconds to defeat the more illustrious Wigan Warriors at Wheldon Road, some critics began sensing Daryl Powell’s side might have real longevity.
Of course, they did, going on to reach Wembley and finishing just two points behind leaders St Helens. How Powell needs a similar result tonight.
“We are in a slightly different place now,” admitted the reigning Super League Coach of the Year, Castleford having lost their opening three games by frustratingly narrow margins.
“We’d won our first few games last year and this time we’ve been pretty unlucky. We have been creating things and on the cumulative stats on OPTA after two rounds we were the club with the second fewest missed tackles so we’re not doing too much wrong.
“I don’t want to make an excuse, but there’s things that went for us last year that just haven’t quite gone for us yet.
“The boys are working hard, though, there are still new players slotting in and that has been a little more difficult than anticipated. But we are where we are, we have a job to do and it’s about finding a way to win. I don’t think we’re too far away. It will be tough with Wigan coming in on the back of a loss at Hull KR and they will be hugely motivated, so it’s slightly different to last year.
“But we’ve got to find a way to win and finish things off better.”
The return of full-back Dorn could aid that, while winger James Clare will be keen to show his try-scoring prowess having also had to wait until tonight for his first appearance of the season.
Wigan squandered a 20-6 lead at Hull KR on Sunday but Powell warned: “They played pretty well in lots of areas.
“They played sharp, shifted the ball and put on a lot of pressure so KR can feel pretty fortunate they got out of that; Wigan faded a little but certainly played quick.”