Super League: Michael Shenton seeks Castleford response at Magic Weekend
Last Updated: 14/05/14 1:22pm
Castleford Tigers three-quarter Michael Shenton is targeting a return to winning ways at the Magic Weekend, but Jarrod Sammut warns Wakefield Wildcats are out for revenge.
The Tigers raced to victory when the sides last met in April, with a brace of tries from Sammut not enough to save the Wildcats who endured a 43-20 reverse on home soil.
However, the West Yorkshire rivals will duel once more as they head Sunday’s Magic Weekend triple-bill at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.
Tigers travel to the Magic Weekend on the back of successive defeats to Huddersfield Giants and league leaders Leeds Rhinos and captain Shenton is eager to rediscover their early season form.
“I think we’ve had a tough turnaround lately, we had Huddersfield on the Sunday and then a short turnaround to play Leeds, two of the best teams in the competition,” he told Sky Sports News.
“We really competed for the games and the confidence is still there in the team, but obviously we need to get back to winning ways and keep our standards high so it’s a great chance for us and pretty special weekend.”
Despite a recent slide, Castleford remain fourth in the Super League standings thanks to eight victories from their opening 12 matches and Shenton admits there is still hope making a return to Manchester for the Grand Final.
“It’s a tough ask for us,” he admitted. “We’re going pretty well this year, we’ve had a great start but for us it’s the kick-on now and time to get back to winning ways.
We’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster season but the last two weeks we’ve had tough wins, but good wins. The guys are showing confidence, we know what we are capable of and there are times in the games when we’re just not quite delivering that.
“We’ve really set ourselves up for a good season so obviously the end goal would be to get to Old Trafford, but there’s a long way to go.”
Conversely, Wakefield come into the weekend following back-to-back victories after an arduous start to their campaign – losing eight of 10 – and Sammut believes they are ready to show their capabilities.
“We’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster season but the last two weeks we’ve had tough wins, but good wins,” he said.
“The guys are showing confidence, we know what we are capable of and there are times in the games when we’re just not quite delivering that.
“Over the weekend we found ourselves in patches where we were dominant but slowly let things slip, but obviously Magic Weekend is a big occasion and Castleford got one on us earlier in the season so we’re looking to get one back.”
Shenton acknowledged the Wildcats recent upturn, which has seen them beat Hull and Widnes, and expects a fierce encounter in front a diverse Etihad crowd.
“We know Wakefield have turned a corner recently, they’re playing some good rugby and obviously there is confidence flowing through the team,” he added.
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“We’re coming off the back of a couple of defeats so it makes it a pretty tasty fixture.
“It’s definitely a unique occasion with all the fans coming together, different fans supporting different teams; it’s definitely a good concept.
“It’s a terrific stadium, it gets a great atmosphere and I love playing there, last year we got a good victory and to do that again would be pretty special.”
Aside from preparing for their fixture on Sunday, Shenton revealed he will be keeping a close eye on leaders Rhinos as they take on Wigan Warriors on Saturday evening.
“I think Leeds-Wigan will be pretty tasty,” he admitted. “Leeds are flying high but Wigan got beat by Leeds a few weeks ago so they’ll be looking for revenge.
Meanwhile Sammut, who joined Wakefield from Bradford at the start of the 2014 season, is keen to see his former club in action.
“I think I’m probably more looking forward to the Bradford and Huddersfield game which is played after ours,” he said.
“Just leaving Bradford and having such good mates there, I like to see them do well. Last year we came off a pretty heavy defeat to Huddersfield at Magic Weekend so hopefully this year they can turn things around and get their season on a positive.”