Consistency the key for Castleford Tigers as they prepare to face Warrington Wolves in Super League opener
CASTLEFORD TIGERS will be amongst this season's title challengers if they can be more consistent, believes forward Liam Watts.
The Tigers kick off their 2021 Betfred Super League campaign against Warrington Wolves on Sunday, as they close out the round one action at Headingley Stadium.
This campaign will be Daryl Powell's final one as head coach at the club, after he announced his decision to leave his role at the end of the year.
Watts feels it would be a fitting way to end Powell's time in charge at Wheldon Road by hitting the heights of the 2017 season, when Castleford won the League Leaders' Shield and reached the Grand Final.
The Tigers finished eighth last season but Watts and his teammates are determined to right the wrongs from a disappointing 2020 campaign.
"If we are competing week in, week out then we will be up there at the top of the league," said Watts.
"It comes down to us as individuals, we have to be at our best each week.
"If we aren't doing that, then we will end up where we did last year. We sat down at the end of last year and had a good look at each other.
"We don't want to be making up the numbers. With how far the club has come under Daryl in the last six to seven years, it would be fitting to get to the heights of 2017.
"If we do pick up a few injuries we have brought players in to give us that depth so we won't be down and out."
Castleford have signed Jordan Turner, Suaia Matagi, Lewis Bienek and Niall Evalds ahead of the new season.
Watts feels the recruits have given the side some much-needed depth in key areas while the addition of full-back Evalds is something Castleford have needed since Zak Hardaker was sacked by the club in early 2018 following a failed drugs test.
Watts continued: "Turner and Suaia have gave us a bit of added depth, in key positions.
"Niall has been a player we have needed for a while now. We have not really had a full-back embedded at the club since Zak left.
"You seen at Salford, he is electrifying out the back. He has been causing the defence some problems in training."
Before the 2020 season was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Castleford had won five of their first seven league fixtures.
They failed to rediscover that form after the season restarted in August but Watts believes a gruelling three-day training camp before Christmas has set the tone for the upcoming campaign.
"We were disappointed with how we performed in that second part of the season," he added.
"You can say whatever you want about the situation but we just weren't up to standards.
"We had a three-day training camp before Christmas and that set the tone for what pre-season was going to be about."
Warrington finished third last season and have signed three-time NRL Grand Final winner Greg Inglis for the 2021 season.
Castleford have been working to sharpen their attack during the off-season as they prepare for Sunday's league opener with the Wolves.
"We have had quite a lot thrown at us. There were stages last year when we didn't have that attacking prowess, we just looked flat at times," said Watts
"A few different structures have been put in there. We are trying new ideas."