Ferres admits Tigers face tough times
Castleford Tigers head to St Helens tonight with chief executive Steve Ferres admitting there is no way of dressing up their current plight.
After a promising 2011 season which saw them reach the Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-finals and go within a whisker of reaching the play-offs, they have endured a torrid campaign both on and off the field this time around.
A 42-20 home loss to London Broncos did little to help spirits, and tonight’s trip to one of the title hopefuls hardly stands out as a likely away win.
According to Ferres, the man who the Tigers have recruited to head up a revival of their fortunes, a lot of hard work lies ahead before they can start to see positive results.
“I’m afraid there is no way of sugar-coating the current situation,” he said.
“The club needs to change on a number of fronts and also requires significant investment in order to re-establish Castleford Tigers as a competitive force in Super League.
“At a minimum we need to be in a position where we are capable of spending the full salary cap. I would like to reassure everyone that we are working very hard with a number of high-quality business people to map out and introduce these changes but the fans are absolutely central to its future success.
“We know we have the loyal fans out there but we also know that they are becoming increasingly disillusioned as a result of the recent poor performances. This must change.”
The chances of it doing so against a Saints side aiming to build momentum ahead of the play-offs appear slim, however.
Mike Rush’s men were stung by a last-gasp Paul Sykes drop goal that earned Wakefield Trinity Wildcats a one-point win over them last Sunday, but they remain one of the biggest threats in the competition, especially at home.
Despite the odds being stacked in the favour of his players, Rush is making sure he has all bases covered.
“We are preparing for the best Cas team because you can turn it around in a game,” Rush said.
“That said, this week is about us and our willingness to defend and roll our sleeves up and get back on track ahead of the play-offs.
“We have to have a mentality to work for the play-offs and be there when they come around.”
Tonight’s other game sees Challenge Cup finalists Warrington Wolves head to London to face the Broncos at the Stoop.
Coach Tony Smith has rested six frontline players with next weekend’s date with Leeds Rhinos in mind, and that could prove to be a leveller against a side enjoying a new lease of life under interim coach Tony Rea.
A come-from-behind win over Salford City Reds was followed by an impressive rout of Castleford, and Wolves scrum-half Richie Myler knows how dangerous a proposition they will be.
“The Broncos are hitting some really good form at the moment under Tony Rea so we need to play well against them,” Myler said.
“At the beginning of the season they signed some big-name players and people were tipping them to do really well. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way at the start, but towards the back end they appear to have hit some form and we are in for a real tough test.”