New Castleford Tigers half-back Cory Aston reckons the player ahead of him in the pecking order at the club is an inspiration to him.
The 22-year-old son of Sheffield head coach Mark Aston realises he faces a huge task to get in the Tigers team ahead of England scrum-half Luke Gale, but believes he can learn a lot from the 2017 Man of Steel.
Cory is also convinced working with three former top quality half-backs on the Castleford coaching staff in Daryl Powell, Danny Orr and Ryan Sheridan is also going to benefit him as he looks to make up for the disappointment of his year at Leeds Rhinos when he failed to play a first team game.
He said: “Daryl is known for bringing players on and if you look at Luke Gale’s career path, he has been at a few clubs and then come here and really blossomed.
“I think he is an inspiration for me. He had it tough, he went around a bit and he came here and he has turned into a world class player and an England international. That is something I look at.
“I had Danny McGuire in front of me last year and Luke Gale this year. They are both outstanding half-backs and to learn off them is brilliant.
“This year is a new challenge and I am looking forward to working under Daryl and also Shez and Danny. They played in my position, so it is good to work with them.
“That is massive for me, they were all great players and to have them as coaches is a big attraction. It’s just the little things and the attention to detail you get from Shez, it is massive towards your development.”
Despite being released midway through a two-year contract with Leeds, Aston insisted the experience has not dented his confidence.
He said: I think it has made me a better person and a better player.
“It has been character-building and I am really looking forward to this year. There are no hard feelings. I really enjoyed my time last year and I am really looking forward to cracking on this year. That’s my main focus.
“It has been good, I am really enjoying it. I had a good eight weeks before Christmas, me and all the young boys and the new boys were in for a couple of weeks before the main bulk of the players came in and that was really good to get to know the systems before they came in.
“We’ve kept on after Christmas and I’m looking forward to going to Lanzarote [for warm weather training] on Thursday. I think that will be really good to bond with the players.”
On his aim for the season, Aston said: “My main goal to start with is getting that first team debut.
“I want to play five games this year and if I do that’s five more than last season.
“I just want to get that first game under my belt and then I’ll go from there. The strength in depth here is massive, so it is going to be a challenge, but while you are training you are picking things up from good players.”
Aston accepts he is likely to have to go out on loan to stay match sharp during the season.
He added: “Nothing’s been said yet, but I’m sure I’ll be going somewhere to get game time and make sure I am fit and ready to go. That’s the main thing, to make sure you are playing. That’s how you develop.”