Castleford’s Liam Watts has played worse for wear after winning a Challenge Cup final but doesn’t expect Wigan to be hungover.
A week on from lifting the trophy, Warriors head to Wheldon Road on Saturday to face Tigers. Castleford coach Lee Radford joked how his Hull side ‘turned up drunk’ for their next Super League game after Cup glories in 2016 and 2017. Prop Watts played for Hull back then and recalled: “The first year was like that as it was massive.
“It was the first time Hull had ever won at Wembley. We did enjoy it. We drunk Saturday after the game, Sunday on the bus on the way home and then Monday we had the homecoming when we all stayed out again. We were at St Helens on the Friday and Radders tapped a few blokes to say they weren’t playing.
“I was one of the unlucky ones who did end up playing! But we were only 10-6 down at half-time. You’re still riding a high. I didn’t feel like I was gassed. It does get you at the back end of the game. That’s when it got us.
“We lost 31-10. But for the majority of that game we were in it. I’m not sure how Wigan will be but we definitely won’t be taking them lightly.”
Castleford are sixth at the halfway stage of Super League and intent on pushing on for the play-offs. They have won their last five home fixtures so fancy their chances in a game – televised live on Channel 4 – billed as the Jungle Jubilee. Watts, 31, said: “It’s been built up nice.
“We had some time off with the Cup final being on. Five of us had a few days in Portugal. It’s the first time I’ve been away in four years so it was nice to get some sun on our backs. But we’ve come back mentally refreshed and had a good week training.
“We do look sharp. We’ll see what sort of Castleford team turns up Saturday. We have not lost at home since our first game at the start of the season. We want to make sure we keep that run going and see how far it can take us into the season as our away form has not been cracking. We’ve been inconsistent in that way and have had a good chat about what needs to change.”
Watts is back from a two-game ban – his second of the season – to bolster Radford’s side against high-flying Wigan. He said: “Every time you face Wigan you know it’s going to be a tough battle up front. We need this to see where we’re at.”