IT’S TIME for the tough to get going, Castleford Tigers forward Mike McMeeken says.
Tigers are now an established top-four club, but have yet to win a major final – despite being league leaders two years ago – and McMeeken reckons they are ready to cast off the nearly men tag in the 2019 season.
Castleford go into the new season without former Man of Steel Luke Gale after he suffered a ruptured Achilles in training, but according to the former London Broncos back rower there are no excuses ahead of this weekend’s start of the new season.
“We have been consistent in getting into the top four over the last few years and it’s time for us to step up and make the most of our chances,” McMeeken insisted.
“We had a Grand Final two years ago and didn’t take our chance then and we had an opportunity last year in the semi-final and disappointingly we didn’t get any further than that.
“It is time for us to stop the talking, more actions on the field and take our opportunities.”
Castleford have only made one signing, bringing in Jordan Rankin on a swap deal for Joe Wardle, and McMeeken feels that is a vote of confidence from coach Daryl Powell.
He believes the players are now hungry to repay the boss’s faith.
He said: “We got Peter (Mata’utia) and Liam Watts last season and they’ve had a full pre-season with us. That helps in terms of combinations and it’s good that Powelly has a lot of trust in us.
“He has said we don’t need any players from other clubs and it shows he has a lot of confidence in us.
“The belief we have around the place is massive at the moment. We all feel we can win something.
“We have been pushing ourselves hard in training and the standard has gone up in pre-season and we are just looking forward to week one.
“Pre-season has gone well. It has been tough, but enjoyable. It has been a bit different to the last ones we’ve had.”