Skipper Shenton confident that Castleford can kick on

Castleford's Michael Shenton in action in the pre-season game against Wakefield.
Castleford's Michael Shenton in action in the pre-season game against Wakefield.

Captain Michael Shenton believes there is confidence among the Castleford Tigers players that they can achieve something special in 2016.

After improved campaigns in the last two years the Tigers are looking to push for a trophy this year and Shenton reckons they are in a good position to take the next step.

He told the Express: “Everyone’s really looking forward to a big year.

“There’s plenty of competition for places to keep everyone on their toes so we’re definitely confident moving forward.

“It’s obviously a big ask for us to get into the top four because everyone seems to have improved roster-wise, so we’re really going to have to be on it right from the start.

“But pre-season has gone really well. The attitude of the boys has been tremendous and everyone is really buying into what we’re trying to achieve at the club.

“I’m definitely confident we can kick on and really challenging for that top four spot is a main goal of ours.

“I think we’ve recruited well. The boys have added something to the quality.

“It’s only outside backs and half-backs we’ve brought in, but the likes of Frankie Mariano and Lee Jewitt only played minimum games last year and they will come in and be fresh and ready to go.

“The pack looks really settled and really know how we want to play. That’s a big plus in the camp. This time last year we were just working on combinations and trying to build a game plan.

“This time we’ve already got a game plan in place and know how we want to play so we can build on the finer details and different situations we will be put in as a team.”

Shenton feels improving their defensive side of the game will be the key for the Tigers in 2016.

He said: “Most important is getting our defence in order because that’s a big thing we’ve got to improve on.

“It’s a massively important area and there’s so many different parts to it.

“We’ve got to show we’ve got the right attitude and we’ve got to bring it to every game to make sure we’re keeping teams to a minimum.”

Keen competition for places is another area that can drive Cas on to bigger things.

Shenton added: “I’ve got some big competition this year and it’s important to have that.

“It’s not just at centre, it’s all over the field we’ve got quality. But we’ve brought in two really good quality centres in Greg Minikin and Crooksy. Those guys are going to be really good for the future, but they’re going to be challenging for spots this year and I’m excited to watch them develop as well.

“Justin Carney’s going to be a big loss, but bringing Joel Monaghan in shows where we’re at as a club. He’s an ex-Kangaroo so it shows what a quality player he is.

“He is a proven try scorer, knows the game and he’s composed as well, which is important for us. His ability just to pull tries out of nothing is great and his kick-catch is unbelievable. Sometimes there may be nothing on, but you can fire a kick to him and get a try out of nowhere. That’s the kind of people you need if you are to be challenging for honours.”