Giants eye league summit
Huddersfield Giants are to step up their efforts to secure a first Super League leaders' shield following their exit from the Challenge Cup.
The Giants, who went down meekly to Warrington Wolves in last week's cup semi-final, have the chance to take over at the top of Super League tomorrow when they entertain Castleford Tigers at the John Smith's Stadium.
They are just a point behind Wigan Warriors, who do not play until Monday when they visit derby rivals St Helens, and are well-placed to at least match their previous best Super League finish of third in 2009.
Paul Anderson's men have not been out of the top three all season and have the easier run-in, with five of their six remaining opponents all currently sitting outside the top eight.
The exception is Wigan, whom Huddersfield play in what could be a decisive clash at the DW Stadium on August 9, but Anderson is delighted that his side's fate lies in their owns hands.
"If we win our six remaining games we get the League Leaders' Shield and we've got a good opportunity between now and the play-offs to win it," Anderson said.
Castleford coach Daryl Powell is warning his players to expect a backlash from the Giants following their 44-24 mauling by the Wolves.
"We've got to go and play well and, if we're on our game, then we'll have a chance," Powell said.
"Huddersfield have been going exceptionally well but they've been rattled a little bit over the last couple of weeks.
"They worked pretty hard to get a win against Hull late on and then Warrington set about them a little bit and got over the top of them so there will be a response, no doubt about that."
Powell has ruled out a reunion between prop Keith Mason and the club that unlawfully sacked him at the end of last season.
Mason spent three days in court this week proving his case and, therefore, was unable to take a full part in training.
Powell said: "Keith has missed the first part of the week from a practice point of view and we have people like Ben Davies and Dan Fleming who are really keen to play."
Castleford are set to give a debut to centre Michael Channing, who has joined on loan from London Broncos, while Huddersfield recall Kyle Wood in place of injured hooker Shaun Lunt and winger Ben Blackmore, who was signed from the Tigers at the end of last season, has been included in a 19-man squad.
Double-chasing Warrington, just a point behind Huddersfield, will be aiming to keep the pressure on when they meet another form team, Hull KR, at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The Wolves are on a seven-match winning run while Rovers, who were victorious in the home game between the two clubs in March, have won their last five matches to maintain their play-off challenge.
Warrington coach Tony Smith said: "Hull KR are in good form and we understand the challenge we are about to face.
"They are a good team and they've fought hard this year. They are a danger when on their game and have some terrific players right across the field.
"We expect a tough battle and we will need to be switched on for the full duration."
Smith rings the changes ahead of next week's Cup semi-final against Hull, calling up Brad Dwyer, Glenn Riley, Tyrone McCarthy, Rhys Williams and Ben Harrison.
Hull KR have back row forward Tyla Hepi standing by to make his Super League debut and have Sean Gleeson, Evarn Tuimavave and Jordan Cox available after missing the win over Salford City Reds through illness.