McMeeken looks to build on first year with Castleford

Mike McMeeken, in action for Castleford Tigers last season.

Mike McMeeken, in action for Castleford Tigers last season.

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Rising star Mike McMeeken is determined to carry on where he left off with Castleford Tigers last year when the new season opens next month.

McMeeken developed faster than the coaching staff expected last term following his move from London as he went from a fringe player to a fully fledged first team regular who played in the last 17 games of the 2015 Super League campaign.

He said: “It went surprisingly well for me.

“The start of the season was a bit slow for me, but at the end of the year it went very well.

“I am looking to build on that this year.

“As a team we are looking to kick on and aim for that top-four and I am the same. Everyone wants to work on improving their game and that’s what I am aiming to do.

“I want to establish myself as a Super League player. I played more games than I expected last year, I think my initial aim at the start of the season was about 10. To get 20 games in felt really good.

“Working with Daryl Powell has been really good. All the backroom staff do a good job and I really feel like my game has come on.”

McMeeken believes increased competition for places is set to drive Castleford Tigers onto bigger things in 2016.

He said: “I think the squad is very strong this year.

“Everyone has got competition for places, wherever you are playing on the pitch.

“I think that is going to help us in the long run. You know you can’t afford to have a bad game or string of games because you’ve got someone wanting that position.”

Castleford players are now back home after a week-long warm weather camp in Lanzarote and will be aiming to put their training into practice on Sunday when they host Wakefield in a pre-season game that could go a long way to deciding who is ready to start when the real thing begins.

McMeeken reckons pre-season has gone well so far and added: “It has been one of the best I’ve had.

“There’s been a lot of enjoyment, surprisingly - you wouldn’t think lifting telephone poles would be fun, but we’ve enjoyed it and got a lot from it.

“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel now and everyone can’t wait until the start of the season.”