Super League’s Young Player of the Year Jake Trueman believes competition for his spot in the team can drive him to new heights in 2019.
At just 19 Trueman is already a fully fledged Super League star and much will rest on his shoulders if Castleford are to continue their success of the last two years when they have finished in the top three.
With fellow half-back Luke Gale confirmed to be out of action for the season Trueman will be the Tigers’ main pivot this year, but if his standards slip he knows there are players waiting to take his place in the team.
He said: “There’s four half-backs all after two spots so I have got to train well and if I get in the team I’ve got to play well to get one of those spots.
“Obviously it is a massive loss to lose Luke. In my opinion he is probably the best half in the competition and to lose him you are always going to suffer, but there’s four of us and we are all confident we can fill that gap.”
Trueman wants to ensure he does not suffer the second season syndrome that some young players go through after impressive first years in the senior team.
He insisted: “I wouldn’t say it’s something I’m concerned about, but it’s definitely something I want to avoid.
“I am conscious of trying to avoid that, I don’t want my performances to drop.
“I know it is going to be harder this year, people are going to know who I am, know my strengths and my weaknesses and I’ve got to be better than last year, I know that.
“The aim is to build on last year and go to the next level.”
Trueman believes Castleford can shake off their nearly-men tag in 2019 after losing in the Grand Final and the play-off semi-finals in the last two years.
He added: “We have got to go to that next level, we have got to win something.
“We have had two big games in the last two years and we haven’t performed, we haven’t won them.
“That has got to be the aim now, to get some silverware. It is something we are conscious we really want to achieve.
“We have changed things slightly this year and we are confident can have a real good go at both competitions.”