Director of rugby Jon Wells has vowed that Castleford Tigers will go all out to win a major trophy in 2019 after their near misses of recent years.
While the season only ended domestically last weekend the planning is already going on to try to turn the Tigers from a top four team to a finals team and Wells believes lessons will have been learned from the play-off semi-final defeat to Wigan.
In an address to supporters Wells said: “The club as a whole and the playing squad in particular are devastated both in the loss and the performance which contributed to that loss.
“Wigan Warriors were outstanding in defence throughout the semi-final, but there is certainly a huge feeling that, once again, we did not bring our best to the table.
“The players and the coaching staff take full responsibility for that loss and the work has already begun to lay foundations for a different story in 2019.
“We have an extremely competent, adaptable and skilful squad who are capable of great things – it is obvious that on the day we lacked that cutting edge and stubbornness that is necessary to progress to finals and challenge for honours. We will learn from this.
“The players are currently on a break, they are the ones who throw themselves into every game and they need time to recover and re-charge their batteries.
“But the rest of us are already planning our assault on Super League for 2019.”
Wells thanked fans for their support, an example of which was almost 4,500 travelling to Wigan for the semi-final.
He said: “We have been on some ride in 2018 and we simply could not do this without the quite brilliant support we are lucky to enjoy as a club.
“This is a club on the move, we have lofty ambitions and support in numbers and in voice is essential to that continued development. So, on behalf of the players, the coaching team, the entire staff and the board, a huge thank you.”
There were successes for Wells to reflect on from 2018.
He added: “In many ways 2018 has been a frustrating year; in others, one of progression and success.
“There have been some significant highlights this season, most notably the emergence of Jake Trueman as a genuine talent in Super League.
“To win the Young Player of the Year in your first full season of first grade (having played in two key positions) is some achievement and is testament to both Jake’s professionalism and willingness to learn and to the squad he has around him.
“We also saw Georgia Roche crowned the inaugural Woman of Steel, which is a huge coup for Castleford Tigers and personal recognition for a young woman who has conducted herself impeccably in representing our fledgling women’s team.”