NEW forward James Green believes the big squad being put together by Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell will help the club challenge for honours again next year.
Green acknowledges he faces a fight to win a first team place after moving to Castleford from Leigh in the off-season with competition for places high, particularly in the forwards. But he reckons that the competition will drive the team on to further success after the excellent 2017 campaign.
He told the Express: “There is a lot of competition for places. We’ve got a squad of 36 players maybe so it’s definitely the biggest squad I’ve been a part of.
“With it being such a successful squad last year everybody knows what they’re doing and everybody’s there to contribute and compete.
“It’s definitely keeping me on my toes and I think it’s bringing the best out in me so it’s certainly good for myself and good for the team to have this competition.
“A little bit of competition is great for everybody and hopefully it will create some nice headaches for Daryl and everybody else.
“It will be a bit harder for Castleford next season because everybody knows what they can do now and will raise their game. Losing Zak will not make it any easier, but the squad is big enough and the team talented enough to challenge again.
“They like to throw the ball about and I’m looking forward to fitting in with it.
“Leigh played against Castleford last season so I got to see them close up and I saw their matches on Sky, they played some great stuff and deservedly got to the Grand Final.”
Green signed one a one-year deal, but wants to stay at the club beyond that and has outlined his ambition to earn a longer contract with the Tigers.
He said: “My aim for next season is to play as many games as possible, as many as I’m fit for and available for selection for.
“I would like to sign an extension and want to earn that with my performances.
“I’m only on a one-year deal with an option of another two years so I want to do well enough to win them two years and kick on from there.”
After a tough two years with Hull KR, who were relegated in 2016 and Leigh, who went down in 2017, Green is looking forward to playing for a team that should be fighting it out at the opposite end of the table this time.
“When you get relegated you don’t expect the League Leaders’ Shield winners to call to say they want you,” he said.
“The move happened quickly after I got a call from my agent saying Daryl (Powell) wanted to talk to me about joining the club.”
Green admitted he had found it tough at Leigh, saying: “It was difficult for myself and for the team last year.
“I didn’t really play too much at Leigh, I don’t think I seemed to fit the mold of what they were looking for and for one reason or another things didn’t work out. It was even harder on the team getting relegated as well.
“It’s left a lot of people trying to work out their futures and left in limbo so I count myself lucky that I’ve managed to get a great opportunity at Castleford to try to turn my career around.
“I’m hoping a relegation battle is not something I have to worry about this year!
“Obviously Castleford were great last year and if I can contribute to some success here –not to say I’m going to make the difference between runners-up and winning a Grand Final – I will be pleased.
“I’m hoping that being part of such a big squad will increase competition and get the team over the line.”
Green will certainly want to make it into the Castleford team when they play one of his old clubs, with Hull KR back in Super League after a year in the Championship.
He added: “I’ll be looking forward to when we play Hull KR. It’s good to see them back in Super League, back where they belong, especially after the unlucky way they got relegated.
“I didn’t think they deserved to go down, but they did well to bounce back last year and I’m pleased they are back up there.”