RE-APPOINTED skipper Danny Orr believes Castleford Tigers can make the necessary improvement to reach the Super League play-offs after near misses in the last two years.
Orr, 33, has been handed the task of leading the Tigers in what could be his last season as a player and is relishing the prospect after a highly successful return to his hometown club last year.
He has seen positive signs in a new pre-season regime instigated by head coach Ian Millward and wants to play a full part in lifting Cas from the ninth place finishes in 2010 and 2011.
He said: “We want to improve on what we did last year when we were only a couple of minutes away from a Challenge Cup final and only one game away from a place in the play-offs.
“We were a good team last year. We had a bit of an injury crisis at one point, which didn’t help, but we were really close and with a few more little tweaks here or there we can improve and go a little bit further this year.
“I think that result in the semi-final had it gone the other way would have kicked us on for a really good year. But it really deflated a small squad at the time and we really struggled then to get back on and push on for the play-offs.
“But we were only a few minutes away again when we nearly beat Hull KR in the last game. So it was not that last year was a bad year. but we’re definitely looking to go better this time.
“Every team is probably saying they want to reach the play-offs and that is the minimum achievement, but we just want to be consistent and perform week in, week out. If we do that then I believe there is no reason why we can’t be in the play-offs.
“A cup run would also be fantastic, to get to a final is a great feeling and hopefully we can do that.
“Preparations are going really well. We’ve got a completely new staff, obviously with Basil (Millward), who’s brought in a new assistant, a new conditioner and a new physio. It’s a totally new set-up this year and it’s working really well.
“I think we were a little under staffed last year and that didn’t help. But we’ve got a lot of good people on board this year. We’re all working really hard and hopefully it will pay off on the field.”
Orr is looking forward to renewing his successful half-back partnership with Rangi Chase.
He said: “It’s good to play with Rangi. He played for England at the end of last year and has come back with a few more tricks up his sleeve - not that he needed them.
“We get on really well, we train well together, have a good laugh and I think we’ve got a good understanding of how we both want to play
“I’m enjoying my role within the team and I know Rangi is. Hopefully we can both improve and we can help the team become better.”
Orr, meanwhile, is delighted to have been renamed as Tigers captain:
“Obviously it’s an honour. It’s something I’ve done before, but something I’m really proud of.
“When Basil asked me to do it again I was really pleased.
“To play for your hometown team is fantastic and to be captain is an even bigger honour
“To be the captain of these lads is good as well because they’re a good group.”
Having signed a one-year contract to play on this year, Orr is not looking beyond 2012 just yet, but while he has ambitions to go into coaching he has not ruled out the possibility of continuing with Cas after this season.
He added: “I’m 33 now and I’ve got this year as a player. I’ve said to myself I’ll see how I’m going during the year.
“Physically I’m fine, that’s not a problem, but I want to be playing well and doing what I think is right for the team.
“I’ll have a couple of months and see how I go and take it from there. If I want another year and I can get another year that will be great, if not I’d hang my boots up. But at this stage I’ve not made a decision yet.
“I’m assistant coach to Richard Tunningley with the under 18s and I’m really enjoying it. Coaching is something I really want to get into when I retire so the more I can do and learn while I’m still playing the better I’ll be for it.”