18 Days Remaining

Friday 22nd
posted by Morning Star in Sport

HULL captain Gareth Ellis is not expecting any favours from his home-town club when the Black and Whites take on Castleford tonight for a place in the play-off semi-finals.

Their last-gasp win over Wakefield last Friday kept Hull’s top-four hopes in their own hands but they need to secure a rare away victory over the Super League leaders to book their place.

Only St Helens have won at the Jungle in 2017 but Castleford coach Daryl Powell is opting to rest a host of key players with one eye on next Thursday’s first semi-final.

“We know it’s going to be a huge challenge for us on Friday even with the changes that they’ve made this week,” said Ellis, who is hanging up his boots at the end of the season.

“We know we need to perform to our best otherwise we’ll be out.

“It’s quite fitting that potentially my last game could be against the team I grew up supporting but it’s not something that I’ve really contemplated.

“There’s a lot at stake this week and I think this team is too good to be out before the semi-final stage.

“Our main focus this week is to concentrate on ourselves and keep our own destiny in our hands as we can’t afford to rely on other results going our way.”

Coach Lee Radford is set to field his Challenge Cup-winning team, with winger Fetuli Talanoa and second-rower Sika Manu returning from injury and prop Chris Green fit again after missing the last three matches following appendix surgery.

Castleford will be hoping scrum-half Luke Gale can mirror Green’s quick recovery as he bids to recover from his own appendectomy in time for next Thursday’s semi-final.