Support The Guardian Topics Nick Tedeschi Share on Twitter Castleford “For me, it’s the biggest prize without a doubt,” Powell said. “Winning the championship and finishing top is the truest test of being consistent over a whole season in my opinion.“Warrington [last year’s League Leaders’ Shield winners] were the best team last year, regardless of what happened in the Challenge Cup and the Grand Final [they lost both finals] – they were the best team and they finished top to prove it.“There’s now more prize money being given to it and I agree with [the Leeds chief executive] Gary Hetherington. When we first started with the Grand Final concept in 1998, a lot had to be put that way in terms of building it up – but for me, the best team finishes top. Although of course, we want to win both.”Powell, a former Great Britain international and now widely-regarded as one of the best coaches in the world, also insists helping Castleford to a first-ever first-placed finish would rank as his greatest achievement in the sport.“There’s little doubting it would be right at the top,” he said. “There have been so many people who have been on this journey with us and to get this club to being the number one side in Super League – which is what we will be if we win this – would have to make it the biggest.”Powell has transformed Castleford from relegation candidates upon his arrival in 2012 to the undoubted favourites to win the Super League title at Old Trafford come October: but he dismissed any talk of their first piece of major silverware in over 30 years this weekend being the pinnacle of his side’s evolution.“I’ve made the point to people so many times that this is a long-term journey we are on,” he said. “We’re on a mission to be an outstanding team in this sport for a number of years; we’ve been building and in recent years we’ve finished fourth and fifth, but now, with this squad, we’ve got a real opportunity to go on and do something special.”Confirmation of top spot on Thursday night would bring with it £100,000 in prize money and, perhaps more importantly, a place in next year’s World Club Series. The Super League boss, Roger Draper, confirmed last month that a two-game series between Super League and the NRL’s leading sides is “more or less” in place. Share on Messenger Since you’re here… The Castleford coach, Daryl Powell, has insisted the League Leaders’ Shield is the biggest prize available in rugby league as his side close in on winning it for the first time.Castleford have never finished top of rugby league’s first division in their 91-year history, a record they will lay to rest on Thursday night should they avoid defeat against local rivals Wakefield.The general belief in Super League is that the competition’s season-ending showpiece, the Grand Final, is the biggest accolade: but Powell, who played in the first-ever Old Trafford final in 1998 for Leeds, disagrees. news UK Sport Super League XXII Share on Facebook Super League Share via Email Read more Reuse this content Clash of the Titans: Jarryd Hayne and Neil Henry on collision course from outset Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Rugby league … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.