Fighting to the finish
Two coaches have their say ahead of Saturday showdown
Last Updated: September 8, 2011 9:33am
There may be one round of Super League left, but two clubs will be going into a play-off a week early.
Hull KR and Castleford will meet at Craven Park on Saturday knowing that the victor will claim the eighth and final spot in the end-of-season games.
The two coaches involved in that death-or-glory battle - Justin Morgan and Terry Matterson - joined Boots 'n' All ahead of the big game to give their thoughts on what might happen.
The Hull KR and Castleford bosses, who are both set to leave their clubs at the end of the season, told us they're expecting am exciting game...
On the emotions of a potential swansong
Morgan: We need to put those emotions to one side or try to suppress them for 80 minutes. We're not the first group of coaches or players to leave a club. I think the priority is for the club and for the team, that's the most important thing. We are just part of the make-up of the team at the moment and our job is to make sure we win on Saturday.
Matterson: Some emotion's good, but hopefully this isn't the last game. The plan is to win this and go through. It's all set up lovely, rugby league couldn't ask for better.
On their late-season form
Morgan: We've been playing sudden-death rugby for the past couple of months. It's good news that we've put ourselves in a position to make a final push and if we get the points on Saturday we achieve the first objective - and that's to get to the play-offs.
Matterson: We started the season with seven from eight and Hull KR have finished the season with seven from eight, so it's all there to play for. It's been a tough old run since the Challenge Cup semi-final, but this is a one-off game now. We need to pick ourselves up. I felt we competed well for the first 36 minutes of the game against Hull FC, didn't take some opportunities and our heads went down, we didn't react in the right way. We're lucky to have another opportunity.
On how the game will go
Morgan: It's going to be a huge game. Castleford have had a fantastic season, did very well in the Challenge Cup and have been in a play-off position, I think, for the entire season. It's going to be a great clash. Both teams play a nice brand of rugby so hopefully both teams can suppress the nerves, go out there and put their best performance on the pitch on Saturday night.
Matterson: We know it's not going to be easy out there. It's a daunting place to go, but we've had a couple of really good games over the last couple of years. They beat us last year and, as Justin said, both teams play a good brand of rugby and it's important that we bounce back from what happened last week.
Morgan: As Terry mentioned, we've had some great games over the years, Castleford and Hull KR, some really good challenges both at their ground and ours. There'll be some good players on display - Blake Green our player of the year is up against Rangi Chase, arguably the form player of the competition. That clash in itself between the two stand-offs is going to be a great one. People who aren't at the ground can watch it on Sky, so I think it's going to be a great clash. I'm looking forward to it.
Matterson: I enjoy going there and it's a real challenge. Their fans are very vocal and they get behind their team. We've got to make sure they're booing their team, that's the challenge for us.
On their hopes of victory
Morgan: There's a lot of confidence and, I think, rightly so. We've been playing nicely in the last fortnight, we've beaten St Helens and Catalan - two very good teams. But we also know there's a new challenge on Saturday.
Matterson: It's in our hands and I think that's the important thing. If we're good enough we'll get the points and go through to the semi-finals. If not, Hull KR will do it. The best team will go through and at the end of the year, the table doesn't lie.