Warrington last met Castleford when the weather was truly horrific.
It was pretty clear that had there not already been a backlog of games the match may well have been called off. It wasn’t and Warrington won.
It was very wet and at times rather ugly but there were signs that something had changed.
To win in the mud and wet was massive, physically battling out a victory without being able to play free-flowing rugby. It was something new to behold for the fans.
Warrington had started a run of wins and it continued thereafter.
They went on a run of 10 games unbeaten until this was abruptly ended by Wigan at Magic.
That game saw the Wire return, albeit for just the 80 minutes, to bad habits and poor play.
But resilience is a new dynamic ingredient to the Warrington side in 2018, instilled by hard work and good coaching by Steve Price.
Of course over a year there will be poor games, but it is in the games after a loss that a team can best be judged.
Warrington got back to winning ways against Hull at home, and thereafter nilled that same Wigan side who had embarrassed them 2 weeks before in the Cup quarter final. Revenge was swift.
Now it’s back to the league and on Friday Warrington once again come up against the Tigers.
Depleted by injuries and departures, 2018 has so far been hit and miss for Castleford.
The Tigers can still throw the ball around as well as anyone, but at times they lack the penetration and go forward that took them so close last year.
Missing Gale certainly, they are still in with a chance of a top four place but it would probably be a bigger achievement to make it this year than it was last.
As well as Warrington’s overall game play and results, the weather has also taken a turn for the better too – meaning that this Friday will be played on a faster, drier pitch, something that should benefit both teams and provide the spectacle the fans want.
Both teams historically prefer this time of year but then again who doesn’t!
Warrington are demonstrating a new strength and new skillsets. Tyrone Roberts had his best game yet in a Warrington shirt against Wigan, and overall it was the described by the coach as the best team performance of the year to date, over a full 80 minutes too.
If Warrington can keep up Saturday’s tempo, they’ll probably be too strong for Castleford. If not, it will be close.
Whatever the result, these are two of the most entertaining teams in Super League and as such it will be a joy to watch.
Based on current form, I’ve got Warrington taking the spoils, but pushed hard by Castleford.
Warrington 30-22 Castleford