Widnes coach Denis Betts has hailed how Castleford have performed this season, and is looking forward to his team tangling with the Tigers on Thursday evening.
The Vikings welcome Cas to their patch for the game, and Betts clearly views Daryl Powell’s men as a team to be emulated.
“They’ve had a fantastic year, they’ve won some really big games,” said the Widnes coach.
“Their form has been outstanding. It’s not where we start, it’s where we finish, and we’re not over the line yet.
“We want to try and consolidate ourselves in the top eight. We want to pick up as many wins as we possibly can.
“We don’t want to have to fall back on the points we gained last year, we want to get more points than we did than.
We want to be a team that looks like it’s improving year-in, year-out.
“Look at Castleford and where they finished. They did a great job in the pre-season. Daryl Powell has come in full of confidence, and it’s continued to grow.”
The game could be viewed as a dress rehearsal for the two team’s Challenge Cup semi-final, scheduled for Sunday August 10.
Betts is reluctant to see it that way, however, and would prefer to focus on more immediate matters.
“The cup game is in the bag, and we’ll take that on when we come to it,” he said.
“I want to this game on Thursday night. It’s not about ducking and diving, and making some kind of big play, or holding something back, to play in a semi-final.
“There’s points on the line, and we want to climb the table.
“Castleford want to consolidate their position in the table. It’s all to play for.
“There’s nothing on reflection about what will affect the semi-final.
“You want to some form, you want to be health coming to that point in the year, but I don’t think that can be written into the game on Tursday night.
“I try and pick my strongest team available every week. We want to win. We want to go out there and we want to play well.
“In sport you need a degree of confidence about performances, and obviously with playing Castleford and where they sit in the table, it’s important for us to get a win.”