IT has been 25 years since Castleford last won at St Helens but given they are top of Super League, and playing with such confidence and dynamism, today surely marks their best chance yet of ending that dismal record.
Their Australian prop, Grant Millington, was aged just five the previous time the West Yorkshire club tasted victory there, back in a Regal Trophy tie in 1992.
To find a league success, you have to go back further still to 1990; for one reason or another, it has not been a happy hunting ground for Castleford.
But Good Friday’s 42-24 triumph over Wakefield Trinity, which was far more emphatic than the eventual scoreline suggests, merely underlined how impressive Daryl Powell’s side currently are.
With eight wins from nine outings, the free-scoring Tigers are two points clear of nearest rivals Salford Red Devils and Leeds Rhinos at the summit, having also played a game less than both.
“It’s a nice place to be,” Millington told The Yorkshire Post.
“It’s a bit different for us here at Cas. It’s the first time we’ve been up there for quite a while.
“A couple of years ago we were close to it but, hopefully, now we can keep winning.
“It is a big challenge for us over at Saints. We beat them there in a friendly earlier this year so that gives us a bit of a taste of winning over there.
“But that doesn’t really count. We have to get over and really get into them and have a complete performance to beat them because I’m assuming they’ll come out firing. They’re going to want to get a win over this Easter period. It will be tough for us.”
It is a big challenge for us over at Saints. We beat them there in a friendly earlier this year so that gives us a bit of a taste of winning over there.Castleford Tigers’ Grant Millington
Saints, who sacked head coach Keiron Cunningham a week ago, lost 29-18 at derby rivals Wigan Warriors on Friday but did so with 12 men for most of the match after Kyle Amor’s red card.
They are down to eighth but Millington, in his sixth season at Castleford since moving from Canterbury Bulldogs, knows they are likely to soon respond in the wake of Cunningham’s exit.
He said: “You always see that don’t you? It happened here when Powelly came in; there was a bit of a response from us and we ended up winning a few games at the back of the year.
“I think that the guys playing at Saints are better than what they’ve shown this year so far, too.
“They are going to want to put their best foot forward to show the caretaker coaches or whoever comes in they want to be in the starting 17 and pushing forward for the end of the year.”
That said, given the way Castleford are playing – they were 36-12 up at half-time in their own derby against Wakefield following some breathtaking football – they fancy their chances against anyone.
Millington, 30, conceded: “It was good. We knew it was going to be a tough game and you could tell Wakefield are a better side than they were in the first with the way they played the second.
“We took our foot off the pedal a little bit which is disappointing; we don’t want to be that side this year. We want to be able to play the whole way to the end and have a full 80-minute performance which is what we need definitely coming into Saints on Monday.”
Having missed the previous week’s win at champions Wigan with concussion, he returned off the bench to score two first-half tries to help Tigers on their way.
“That was nice,” added the former Cronulla Sharks player, who brought such force and destruction with fellow replacements Junior Moors and Jesse Sene-Lefao.
“Big Joel Monaghan had a head knock and didn’t believe me when I said I’d scored two tries! I told him they were 80 metres but they were more like 80 centimetres ones. It doesn’t matter how I scored them, though, my name’s on the board so I’ll take that.”
Monaghan is duly left out today but captain Michael Shenton returns after a back issue and Nathan Massey and Matt Cook come into contention. Scrum-half Luke Gale has been charged with a Grade A contact with a match official but is available and can take an early guilty plea.
Likewise, Amor is in the Saints squad despite facing a Grade B high-tackle charge tomorrow.
Matty Fleming, Dominique Peyroux and Ricky Bailey replace England full-back Jonny Lomax, Ryan Morgan and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.