Long-serving captain Michael Shenton believes the depth of the squad and the extra competition for places that brings will stand Castleford Tigers in good stead again in 2019.
The Tigers were hit by a number of injuries last year, including the loss of top try scorer Greg Eden and the 2017 Man of Steel Luke Gale for long periods, but still managed to finish third in the Betfred Super League and came within a game of reaching a second successive Grand Final.
That showed how well equipped the squad has been to cover for injury setbacks and Shenton believes that will be the case again in 2019 if there are more setbacks to add to losing Luke Gale for the season with an Achilles injury.
He told the Express: “The depth of the squad is massively important for us and it’s saved us so many times in the past when we have had an injury crisis.
“We’re also seeing some of the young lads stepping up. Our junior process is paying off and having a pre-season with the first team squad has really benefited the younger guys.
“They’re showing what they can do and I thought the game against Featherstone was great. Some of the young lads were playing against men and it’s the first time some of them will have done that, but they played well and stood up to show some of the kind of traits they have been working on in the off-season.
“It’s always pleasing to see some young Cas lads coming through for the future. It’s one of the best areas in the country for rugby league so we should be providing some of the best players to play in Super League.”