We need ‘fire in our belly’ next sea­son, says Tigers’ Sene-Le­fao

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - RUGBY LEAGUE - DAVE CRAVEN

CASTLE­FORD TIGERS’ Jesse Sene-Le­fao ad­mits his side got what they de­served af­ter a bit­terly dis­ap­point­ing semi-fi­nal loss at Wi­gan War­riors ended their sea­son.

Fri­day’s mis­take-rid­den 14-0 de­feat was a woe­ful way to miss out on an­other trip to Old Traf­ford.

Castle­ford fell short in last year’s Grand Fi­nal de­feat to Leeds Rhi­nos with an in­ept dis­play – their worst of 2017 – and they stut­tered badly again in their lat­est show­case game.

“It was not what we ex­pected,” con­ceded prop Sene-Le­fao about what oc­curred at DW Sta­dium.

“We didn’t play our best. If you do that against qual­ity teams they make you pay and that’s ex­actly what hap­pened.

“Wi­gan played re­ally well, but that’s two years in a row we’ve played re­ally bad in our last game.”

Castle­ford were only 7-0 be­hind at the break de­spite a raft of mis­takes in the first pe­riod. They made more of an im­pact at the start of the se­cond half, but still did not have enough pa­tience or guile to break down the un­re­lent­ing de­fence of Wi­gan, who will meet War­ring­ton Wolves in Satur­day’s Grand Fi­nal.

“We gave them the ball too eas­ily,” ad­mit­ted Sene-Le­fao, the New Zealan­der who helped Castle­ford to the League Lead­ers’ Shield last term, his first since join­ing from Cronulla Sharks.

“We didn’t re­ally ap­ply pres­sure enough for them to ac­tu­ally strug­gle a bit.

“We gave them the ball back on play two and play one and when you do that against a qual­ity side like Wi­gan they pun­ish you.”

He added: “We talk about nine out of 10 per­for­mances from our whole squad and I don’t think we ticked that box.

“Cer­tainly next year that is some­thing we have got to work on and also tweak our game just to be ready for big games like Fri­day’s. It is go­ing to be a fire in our belly to do well next year.”

Although it was a mas­sive an­ti­cli­max at the end, he main­tained the West York­shire club had had a “mas­sive, mas­sive year.”

Castle­ford did fin­ish third de­spite a suc­ces­sion of in­jury prob­lems to key play­ers.

“We lost a lot of play­ers,” added the 28-year-old.

“We were count­ing on our back-up play­ers to per­form. They did so and we still came in the top-four.

“That is a learn­ing curve for us.”

How­ever, they clearly did miss Jake True­man on Fri­day, the half­back who missed the Wi­gan loss due to a bro­ken hand suf­fered in the pre­vi­ous week’s de­feat at St He­lens.

Un­for­tu­nately, he now misses the Eng­land Knights tour of Pa­pua New Guinea as well but he is in the run­ning for the Su­per League Young Player of the Year at an awards din­ner in Manch­ester this evening when James Roby, Ben Barba and John Bate­man do bat­tle for the Man of Steel. END OF THE ROAD:

Jesse Sene-Le­fao is con­soled by Wi­gan’s Sam Pow­ell af­ter Castle­ford Tigers missed out on a Grand Fi­nal re­turn.

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