9th May 2019, 10:14 | Castleford

Powell prepared for tough Hull battle

Powell prepared for tough Hull battle

Castleford Tigers hope to make it third time lucky when they take on Hull FC in the sixth round of the Coral Challenge Cup at the KCOM Stadium on Friday night.

It is 33 years since the Tigers’ last triumph at Wembley and they have been knocked out of the competition by Hull twice in the last five years.

Castleford coach Daryl Powell said: “The only teams we play against in the Challenge Cup are Hull and St Helens.

“I knew it would be either Hull or St Helens, it’s just a matter of where. They’re tough draws.

“When you go to Hull, it’s a difficult game, they’re good at home. They’ve been up and down a lot lately but, like us, they have had a lot of players missing.”

The cup gives both clubs the chance to put to one side their worrying league form. Castleford have lost three matches in a row for the first time since 2016 and Hull have won just one of their last three.

“There’s a bit of freshness about it because you can put the table out of the way,” Powell said.

“The Challenge Cup is massive, everybody wants to win it. We went pretty close, getting to the final in 2014. Leeds were a bit too good for us that day but we all saw at first hand what it meant to the supporters.”

Hull broke their Wembley duck in 2016 and retained the trophy 12 months later under the captaincy of Gareth Ellis, who after coming out of retirement in the club’s hour of need earlier in the season is harbouring hopes of adding one final piece of silverware to his trophy cabinet before hanging up the boots for good.

“As somebody who has played in Grand Final winning squads and in the NRL, I can say that winning the Challenge Cup trophy at Wembley is one of the proudest moments of my career,” said Castleford-born Ellis, who at 38 is the oldest player in Betfred Super League.

Hull are boosted by the return of regular half-backs Albert Kelly and Marc Sneyd, while winger Ratu Naulago is available after playing for the British Army.

“It looked to me like Kelly and Sneyd were rested last week,” said Powell. “I think they’ve targeted this game.”

Powell has lost the services of hooker Paul McShane but he is able to bring back James Clare, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Matt Cook and Jordan Rankin from injury and has taken the bold decision to drop leading tryscorer Greg Eden.

Wakefield Trinity have second rower James Batchelor back for the home tie against Championship club Widnes Vikings.

The tie is a repeat of the 1979 final which Widnes won 12-3 but Wakefield won the last five league meetings between the two teams.

A Championship club is guaranteed a place in Sunday’s quarter-final draw as Halifax RLFC, who knocked out Super League club London Broncos in the last round, take on Dewsbury Rams at the Tetley’s Stadium on Friday night.