Assistant coach Danny Orr is confident that a hard pre-season for Castleford Tigers’ first team squad will bring dividends in the season ahead.
Orr, who retired from playing at the end of last season, has been involved in all the work being done by the players and predicts that the Tigers will not be lacking in the fitness department when Super League gets under way again next month.
He told the Express: “The lads have been training really well. They’ve had a tough couple of months and some of the sessions they’ve done have made me glad I’ve retired.
“They have worked so hard and I’m sure they will be a very fit team this year.
“They will be a very skilful team as well as a lot of work and a lot of practice has gone into it. Hopefully it will stand us in good stead.
“I’m very optimistic we can do well this year. The things we’ve put in place will help the team and be consistent in what we do. If we can do that week in and week out I’m confident we can have a very successful year.”
Orr acknowledged that fixture planners had handed Castleford a potentially hard start to the campaign, but he believes they can turn the tough opening into their advantage.
He said: “It looks like we have been given some tough fixtures to start the season, but I don’t buy into all that.
“You’ve got to play every team once. Some weeks they’re going to play well and some weeks they will not be as good.
“It’s up to us to be consistent and play as well as we can and if we do that we give ourselves a chance in every game.
“We’ve got Warrington away and Leeds at home to start with, but you’ve got to play them at some point so why not get them early?
“We can use it as a positive rather than say it’s really hard and make it a negative.
“We have to make sure we’re up for it, play the best we can and play to our ability. If we do that I think we give ourselves a chance of winning and surprising a few people in the early weeks of the season.”
Orr has been enjoying getting stuck into the day to day business of overseeing the first team players in training.
He added: “I’ve been involved in all the training that a rugby league player does.
“I’ve also been doing a lot of work with the kickers, working on skills, skill drills and defensive patterns.
“We have changed quite a lot this year as a team and we are working to the structures and systems that we have put in place.
“There’s been a lot to do and the one thing I’ve realised is that as a player you come to work and train and do what you’ve got to do then you go home. As a coach there’s a lot of organisation work that has to be done and a lot of time is spent in the office with all the staff. There’s a lot of planning and it’s something I’m learning as I’m going along.”