CASTLEFORD TIGERS have performed beyond expectations in the Super League and the Challenge Cup this season.
Few could have expected a team that lost their brightest young star Joe Westerman to Hull FC in the off-season to be comfortably in the play-off positions.
But coach Terry Matterson has managed to revitalise a squad that failed to finish in the top eight last year, with local products such as Joe Arundel and Daryl Clark, as well as the signings of seasoned pros Richard Mathers and experienced local boy Danny Orr, all vital to their success.
Especially scrum half Orr, whose partnership with the influential Rangi Chase has seen the Tigers play an exciting brand of rugby league.
They started the season like a house on fire, and led the table for a short while as Chase and Craig Huby were both in inspired form for the West Yorkshire club.
In fact, in the second game of the season they beat the Giants 18-12 in a tight affair at the newly-named Probiz Colliseum.
Mid-season saw them falter slightly as they lost front-rower Huby, and teams were beginning to target Chase.
And recently they were starting to look as though they might fall at the last hurdle in the play-off race.
But wins over Bradford and Crusaders have seen them steady the ship, and they will look to pose a threat to the Giants, who are obviously looking to avoid a fifth straight away defeat.
STAND-OFF Rangi Chase is obviously the biggest threat to the Giants.
The former St George Illawara player is one of Super League’s best and has been tipped by many to be named Man of Steel award at the end of the season.
There have been a host of clubs in the Australian NRL and Super League reportedly after the Tigers’ biggest asset, with figures up to half-a-million pounds being muted for his services.
But Castleford will be hoping to keep hold of the Kiwi, because of his importance to the side.
This was evident last week as he was suspended for the Tigers clash against the Crusaders, and they struggled to secure a scrappy 26-20 win.
DEPARTING coach Terry Matterson will hope to end his time with the Tigers on a high with Cup success.
The Australian will return home at the end of the year after six years in charge of the Super League side.
The former Brisbane and London Bronco, will leave a lasting legacy at Castleford, with the development of fantastic juniors such as Joe Arundel, Daryl Clark and Adam Milner, and the development of the Tigers from strugglers to play-off contenders.