He may be ahead in the player of the year voting and enjoying an impressive season, but Paul McShane insists he is just a “small cog” in the Castleford Tigers machine.
The Tigers hooker won many of the man of the match accolades for his performance in the 24-6 win at Salford last week and has been Castleford’s most consistent performer this year.
He could count himself unlucky not to be included in the most recent England squad, but is happy to be playing his part in getting Cas to their highest possible position.
He told the Express: “I’ve been happy with my form this year and I think I’ve been pretty consistent, that’s the main thing.
“As long as I am doing my role well enough for the team I’m happy.
“I’ve had a couple of niggles over the past couple of weeks, but they are gone and I’m just looking to kick on in a push to the Grand Final really.
“I’m in a good side and I appreciate what everyone else does – I’m just a small cog in this team.
“I just enjoy it, it’s a good place to enjoy your rugby and I think it shows when we are out on that field.”
McShane is enjoying life at Castleford.
He said: “I’m settled here –and I need to be, I’ve got the next five years here now!
“From the first day I came it made me appreciate things that people do in the club – and I wanted to reward that really, the faith they showed in me.
“The coaching staff believe in me, encouraging me to play my natural game. The structure we play really suits me. I’m just enjoying it really and I’d like to think I’m playing the best rugby of my career.”
McShane has operated at half-back as well at hooker for the Tigers this season and is one of many players capable of filling in several positions, attributes that have helped Cas maintain a challenge near the top despite being without so many injured stars this year.
McShane explained: “That we’ve coped with injuries is due to the good structure we have in place. People need to buy into it for it to work and they have.
“The people who’ve come in have been outstanding, especially young Jake Trueman.
“To step into the Man of Steel’s boots and, at 19 years of age, to direct the team around the field, he has been massive for us.
“Players able to play out of position is just down to the structure as well.
“We know our structure and if we have to move position we know our role in that position.
“That’s down to the coaching staff getting that cemented into us.”
On the Tigers’ ambitions for the rest of the season, McShane added: “Our focus is to get in the top two, but we know we can’t take our foot off the gas.
We need to keep playing our best rugby to take into the Super 8s.”