St Helens are finally back to winning ways and ex-Penrith Panther Travis Burns feels like the weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders.
Burns and his fellow half-back Luke Walsh have come in for some criticism over the past month as the defending Super League champions began their Super 8s campaign with four straight losses.
Having slipped from second to fourth in the standings, Keiron Cunningham’s troops were in real danger of missing out on the play-off semi-finals.
But victory last Friday over table toppers Leeds Rhinos, their conquerors in last month’s Challenge Cup semi-finals, has righted the ship.
Victory over Castleford this weekend would guarantee a top-four spot for Burns and co and he insists Saints have turned the corner just in time.
“It has been a very tough month for the club and for me personally,” said the 31-year-old. “After beating Leeds I felt like the weight of the world has been lifted. We deserved the win last Friday.
“The semi-final defeat (in the Challenge Cup) knocked the confidence out of us, we were not playing the way we should have.
“I have been around this game long enough to know that form can drop off and we had to do something to get ourselves out of that rut.
“Personally Luke and I copped a lot with the bad run we were on, the halves often take a bit but we have made a few changes, particularly in attack now and I think it is helping both of us. Luke was tremendous (against Leeds).
“Cas this week is a massive game for us, it’s do or die for them to stay in the Super 8s so we will have to come out ready and then we are in position to hopefully get to Old Trafford at the end of the season.”
Elsewhere in the Super 8s, Wigan Warriors host Hull FC on Friday reeling from the news that centre Dan Sarginson will miss the rest of the season and the start of the 2016 campaign after undergoing surgery on his hamstring.
Shaun Wane and the Warriors were hoping that the Perth-born centre would be able to return for the season run-in but the decision has been taken for him to go under the knife.
“We’ve just found out that Sarge has gone for six months, which is sad because he’s been great for us,” Wane said.
“I was hoping it wasn’t as bad as we thought but scans have proved it’s quite serious.
“We really wanted to give him every chance to play again this year but, after our medical staff and a couple of other medical experts who specialise in this area looked into it, we agreed that this was the only real option.”
Also in the Super 8s, Catalan Dragons host Leeds while Huddersfield welcome Warrington on Sunday.
In the Qualifiers, Hull KR are hoping to maintain their 100 per cent record when they welcome Bradford Bulls and they have been boosted by the news Terry Campese is making good progress following knee surgery.
“We’re looking at another three or four months,” boss Chris Chester said. “But he’s ahead of schedule.
“Everything is going to plan, he’s getting stronger and will be fine for next season.”
Elsewhere Wakefield host Widnes, Leigh travel to Halifax and Sheffield Eagles are the visitors at Salford.