Terry Matterson would love to bow out of Castleford with the Carnegie Challenge Cup in the club’s possession – but first he’s hoping to gain some revenge when Huddersfield Giants travel to the PROBIZ Coliseum on Sunday (3.30pm).
Matterson, who returns home to Australia at the end of the season, believes the home advantage will help inspire his players after the Tigers were knocked out of the 2009 quarter-finals by Huddersfield when Danny Kirmond pounced for a dramatic late Giants winner with only three minutes left to play.
Huddersfield, who went on to lose that year’s final to Warrington, are once again Castleford’s last eight opponents and Matterson is determined that his men will get pay-back this time.
“I am delighted with the home tie,” said Matterson. “It is not going to win us the game but we beat Huddersfield here earlier in the season and it helps build confidence.
“The last time we played them in the quarter-finals they got us in the last few minutes. We had played really well but we could not finish them off. It could be a similarly tight game this weekend but we all know how important a good Cup run would be for the whole town and it would be marvellous to get to the final.”
Both teams have faced the same teams over their last five Super League games – Catalan, Warrington, Wigan, Bradford and Crusaders – and both have won two and lost three. The Giants beat Crusaders and Catalan at home, while the Tigers beat Bradford and Crusaders, but crucially those wins have come in their last two fixtures, while Huddersfield have lost their last two games, including a shock 36-0 hammering by Bradford.
“We have both played the same five sides and won two each so we are on pretty similar sort of form,” he said. “But our confidence is up because we have won our last two games.”
Two years ago, half-backs Kevin Brown and Luke Robinson inspired the fight back from 14-6 down that finished with Kirmond clinching a 16-14 win but Brown is out injured this Sunday, along with loose forward Luke O’Donnell, but Matterson believes Huddersfield will be a threat whoever they have in their side.
“I have a lot of admiration for the way they play,” said Matterson. “They are a really good side and they have got such a big squad that even if they have injuries they can bring in players of real calibre.
Castleford’s squad is leaner but Matterson is delighted that he is leaving a club that’s in its healthiest position since he joined six years ago.
He added: “We have got the best opportunities in both the Cup and Super League since I have been here. We have put in a lot of hard work over the six years and we’re in really good shape.
“Wembley isn’t that far away and it would be great to get there but if we get too caught up in what might happen down the track then it’s not going to help us. Huddersfield on Sunday is our main priority.”
Sunday July 24
St Helens v Hull Kingston Rovers
Stobart Stadium Halton (3.00pm)
Tickets for the 2011 Carnegie Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 27 costs from £21 to £76 and are selling fast. Last year’s final was a sell-out and fans are advised to move quickly to secure their seat at the historic showpiece final. To book tickets call 0844 856 1113 or visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk
For more information about the Carnegie Challenge Cup visit www.carnegiechallengecup.co.uk