Castleford should edge trip to Wakefield Trinity
Wakey pack missing key men
Betfred Super League
Sky Sports Arena, 7.45pm Thursday
Super League’s annual Easter war of attrition is upon us with ten of the 12 clubs facing the prospect of having to play two games in 72 hours between Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Wakefield and Castleford, who meet on Thursday night, are the odd ones out and they may have a slight advantage come Monday’s matches due to their extra day of rest.
Twelve years ago Trinity famously won a final-day derby against Cas to consign the Tigers to relegation and ensure their own survival in the process but nowadays both clubs are more concerned about the top of the table rather than the bottom.
Trinity, who missed out on the playoff semi-finals by a solitary point last year, are third in the table with their neighbours sixth - level on points with Wakey but with a game in hand.
Daryl Powell’s visitors are looking to build on their nail-biting victory over Leeds last time out when they opened up an early 24-0 lead but eventually scrambled home 25-24 against the champions.
Coincidentally that was same scoreline by which they defeated Wakefield in this fixture last July and Cas are 8-15 to repeat that success. Trinity are 15-8 to tame the Tigers for the first time in nine attempts.
Cas welcome back Oliver Holmes from suspension but the hosts are without star forward David Fifita, Danny Kirmond and James Batchelor.
Coach Chris Chester has called Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel and Kyle Wood into the squad.
The Tigers are asked to concede a six-point start on the handicap. Since the start of last season in 16 matches, St Helens are the only visiting side to win by more than that mark at Belle Vue.
Based on those statistics, there’s no temptation to back Cas to cover the handicap but there may be some mileage in supporting the visitors to get home by a margin of two converted tries or less at 19-10.
The Tigers were one of five teams to win at Wakefield by that margin in 2017. The others were big boys Leeds, Hull, Wigan and Saints.
Castleford have won a dozen times on the road since the start of last year, of which seven were by 12 points or fewer, and the absence of key men in the Wakey pack may enable the visitors to add to that statistic.
Castleford to win by one to 12 points
2pts 41-20 188Bet
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