Daryl Powell believes Castleford Tigers have made progress since he took over as head coach in May and can kick on in 2014.
After making the short move from Featherstone Powell has been in charge for 13 matches, winning six, drawing one and only suffering defeats against top seven sides before the final day last minute loss at Wakefield.
In that time the Tigers have scored the third most points in the league and have become the great entertainers of Super League, although the head coach freely admits they have also conceded too many points, something he is more than eager to address before the next campaign.
“The players have worked exceptionally hard since I’ve been here and we’ve finished the season strongly even though we couldn’t get that last game won, Powell told the Express.
“In lots of ways I’m happy with the progress we’ve made.
“The attitude of the players has been great. The togetherness and the spirit’s been good.
“We’ve pretty much been in every battle. There were a couple of games where teams got away from us in the first half, but we fought our way back to have a chance of winning - against Catalan and Huddersfield as well. I’ve been pleased with that.
“We’re third in the amount of points scored in the last half of the season so that’s a real positive.
“Obviously defensively we’ve been a little bit too loose and conceded too many points and ultimately we’ve got to improve in this area.
“I know we’ve been talking about it for a fair well at Castleford and it’s something we’ve really got to get a grip on.”
Castleford’s season is now over, but Powell felt his side had been close to finishing in the play-offs this year, which was a good effort considering they briefly found themselves bottom of the table and suffered seven straight defeats at one stage.
“We could have got ninth and ended up 12th, which is disappointing, but we closed the points gap pretty heavily on the teams that were above us,” said Powell.
“There’s a couple of games we should have won, St Helens at home and Warrington at home. We weren’t quite good enough to do it, but we weren’t far away. The Wakefield game we were in a good position to win, but found a way to lose it at the end.
“A little bit more toughness in our game and we would have had a real good chance of finishing in the top eight, but it wasn’t to be.
“But it has given us a real good platform to move forward and we’re looking forward to the next challenge.”