Points are likely to mount as Wakefield rock the Jungle
Castleford hoping to secure League Leaders Shield
Sky Sports Arena, 8pm Thursday
In their 91-year history, Castleford have never finished at the pinnacle of rugby league’s top flight but if the Tigers avoid defeat against Wakefield at the Jungle on Thursday night, they’ll claim the League Leaders Shield with four games to spare.
The rise of Castleford under coach Daryl Powell has been remarkable. When the former Featherstone boss took the reins in 2012, Cas were 12th in the league. Now they’re 5-4 to finish the season as Grand Final winners.
Regardless of their regular-season heroics, the Tigers will still need to win two knockout ties to claim the crown at Old Trafford and the conspiracy theorists have been suggesting a Betfred Super League loss to Wakefield might ultimately be a beneficial result.
It may help Trinity finish in the playoff places ahead of more fancied and dangerous opponents like St Helens or Hull.
Such a strategy is the furthest thing from Powell’s mind – he has named his strongest possible squad with captain Michael Shelton, top tryscorer Greg Eden and long-term absentee Junior Moors all hoping to return from injury.
Bookmakers reacted to that news by hiking the handicap given to Wakefield from an opening show of ten points to 14, with the visitors 5-1 to secure a party-pooping win and keep the Cas champagne on ice.
Trinity coach Chris Chester has a possible problem at hooker with Kyle Wood a major doubt, but former Tigers prop Craig Huby is fit to face his old club and Mason Caton-Brown replaces the injured Joe Arundel.
Wakefield were excellent when routing Leeds 38-6 at Belle Vue last week, a result that took them up to fourth on the league ladder.
They should have beaten Cas at home last month when they squandered a 16-0 half-time lead and went down 25-24 in a nailbiter.
That comeback win completed a league double for the Tigers over Trinity as the table-toppers had prevailed 42-24 when the sides clashed at the Jungle in April.
With a dry, mild night forecast, plenty of points could be on the menu again.
The total points line has been set at 48.5 and going over appeals. That would have been a winning wager in ten of the 13 matches played at the Jungle in 2017. Two matches against St Helens and one versus Hull were the three to feature fewer than 49 points.
It may also be worth throwing a speculative dart at the 9-2 about Cas forward Grant Millington crossing the whitewash.
Half of the Australian’s six Super League tries this season have come against Wakefield.
Over 48.5 points
2pts Evs Betway
G Millington to score a try
1pt 9-2 general