His season may have ended in disappointment with Castleford Tigers missing out on the Betfred Super League Grand Final and his name missing off the England squad list, but Paul McShane has plenty of reasons to be pleased with his 2018 – and optimistic about next year.
The 28-year-old hooker took all the player of the year trophies that were open to him in the Castleford Tigers and supporters club awards events – and the fact he won by the fans’ accolade by the biggest margin ever said just how he has impressed everyone with his consistent displays over the season just finished.
McShane also enjoyed off the field success with the Hunslet Club Parkside team he coaches going an entire season unbeaten to win the National Conference Premier Division title and he reckons that it was a decent year for Cas even if ended disappointingly with that 14-0 play-off semi-final defeat at Wigan.
He said: “It has been a tough season, but an enjoyable one.
“We had our backs against the wall a fair bit and it is just a shame it ended the way it did after all the hard work we’ve put in.
“We will regroup and try and get a trophy next year.”
McShane insisted that with the injuries suffered through the year a third place finish in Super League was a good effort from the Tigers and that they were in a in a good place to have a real go in 2019 if they could enjoy a bit more luck.
“We have made some great mid-season additions,” he explained.
“With a full pre-season Wattsy (Liam Watts) and Peter (Mata’utia) are going to be even better for us.
“We are full of confidence and looking forward to it.”
McShane can count himself extremely unlucky not to be playing for England this autumn, having been pipped to selection by former Castleford star Daryl Clark, but he has not given up hope of stepping out to play international rugby league.
He said: “I would love to play for my country.”
“All I can do is keep playing well for Cas and hopefully force my way into the squads. That’s my aim.
“I will be 29 next season so I haven’t got long left and I want to make the most of it.”
McShane played down his big contribution for Castleford in 2018 and suggested he possibly played better last year.
“The things I’ve done this year might have been noticed more because we’ve had some key players missing,” he added.
“I have enjoyed both seasons and hopefully I can keep building.”