Hull’s interim head coach Andy Last says they’ve got momentum on their side and hopes they’ve timed their good run of form to perfection.
The Black and Whites secured a 27-14 win over Warrington in the opening round of the play-offs, and they will meet League Leaders’ Shield winners Wigan at the DW Stadium next Thursday for a place in the Grand Final, which will be held at their home ground, the KCOM Stadium, on November 27.
“I’m very very proud, to get a performance like that,” Last said. “It was outstanding. We asked for our best performance of the season and we got it.
“We’ll have to go up another level next week at Wigan. They are the league leaders and they gave us a real lesson in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
“But we’re but 80 minutes away from playing in a Grand Final and, if that doesn’t motivate the group, we’re in the wrong game.
“We feel we have some momentum and we’re match hardened and hopefully we’ve timed this run to perfection.”
Last was able to recall centre Josh Griffin, who missed the last match of the regular season after coming into contact with his brother George, one of several Castleford players who tested positive for Covid-19, but revealed after the match that he had been involved in a road accident earlier in the day.
“Someone pulled out in front of him when he was taking his lad to the park,” Last said.
“He managed to swerve out of the way. There was a little bit of damage but nobody was seriously hurt.”
Winger Matty Ashton scored two tries on his return to the Warrington team but coach Steve Price admitted they under-performed.
“I thought we started the game reasonably positively,” Price said. “It was two tries apiece at half-time but the start to the second half really was disappointing.
“We got back into it and I thought it was game on but we just couldn’t execute our game plan. At the end of the day they were better than us.
“The standards we set as a club we didn’t reach tonight. The players are gutted. It’s tough at the moment.”
Despite the defeat, the Wolves will remain on standby for the semi-finals in case the coronavirus strikes either of the other teams.
“We’ll have testing on Monday and then be on standby,” Price said. “Hopefully the other clubs pull through, it would be a bad way to jump in to be honest with you.”
Listen to The Final Hooter podcast, featuring exclusive interviews, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on Apple Podcasts.