Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell is preparing for life without star player Rangi Chase, but is looking forward to moulding a new style team for 2014.
Chase confirmed his move to Salford last week while Jordan Thompson and Jonathan Walker are Hull bound and Keith Mason has left Cas. But the Tigers are also recruiting with the aim of having a bigger squad next year and have already announced five signings as well as being linked with a move to bring Andy Lynch back.
“It happens every season where some players move on. That’s life and I wish them all the best wherever they are going,” Powell told the Express.
“It will be a new team next year, but that’s the same every year. Whichever club you’re at you have to build again.
“With Rangi leaving the way we play will have to be a little bit different and that’s a good challenge for us.
“Rangi is a bit special, a once or twice in a lifetime player. I haven’t seen anybody else do the type of things that he does and I think he has really loved being at Castleford.
“Since I have been at the club he has been nothing but a pleasure to work with. Some of the things he does are terrific and every Castleford fan would say it has been a pleasure to have him at the club.
“But we move on. The players have some time off now and will come back on October 28. They’ve got some reviews over the next couple of days when I’ll sit down with every player and talk about where they’re at and what we want them to improve moving into next season.
“It will give them a focus as they go away and the hard work will start again on October 28.
“We’ll have a focus on everybody improving and the team pulling together.
“I’ll have a day or two off, but there’s a lot of work needs doing and I need to get on with that straight away.”
Five first team regulars – Michael Shenton, Justin Carney, Grant Millington, Oliver Holmes and Adam Milner – have undergone operations to clear up injuries, but Powell hopes they will all be fit in time for the start of next season.
He said: “We’ve got a few players needing fixing up. But hopefully pretty much everybody will be training when we come back in at the end of October.
“The idea is to get the operations done as soon as possible and then they can get back training as early as they can in pre-season.”
Castleford are in talks over arranging a Boxing Day friendly to start their preparations for the next campaign. They will then play three further trial matches which Powell sees as an opportunity for all the players to get some game time and to stake a claim for a first team place.
Powell believes the Tigers can realistically aim for a play-off spot next year.
He added: “It’s got to be a minimum standard at the club that we aim for the top eight. You are in play-off football and it gives you a real opportunity.
“You know you’re going to be winning plenty of games if you get top eight and it shows some consistency, which every coach strives for. I certainly do.”