Skipper wants Castleford Tigers to roar from start

Michael Shenton.
Michael Shenton.

Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton has stressed the importance of a good start for his team as they look to top their 2014 efforts.

The Tigers stunned a few teams at the start of last season as they won their first five Super League games and kicked on from there and England star Shenton is eager for a repeat performance.

He said: ”We’ve got to be the best prepared, the best we can be for the first game.

“It’s a massive start, whoever we play, but being Wakefield, it’s bigger than ever.

“It’s really important for us that we make a good start. We did last year and it went on from there.

“We did catch a few teams unawares last year and we won’t have that surprise element. But we can’t do much about that, we know teams will be more prepared, all we can do is make sure we turn up ready to play.

“We shocked a few teams with the intent we played games and the way we started. That’s a goal of ours again to start every game big, start with intent and start as we mean to go on.

“I’ve been in Cas teams before when it’s taken us 30 minutes to get going and you can’t do that, teams are too good and have too many good players.”

Like many involved in Rugby League, Shenton is expecting the coming season to be more competitive than ever before with the new structure of just 12 teams in Super League splitting to groups of eight after 23 matches.

He added: “It’s a huge year, but we can’t focus too much on that and how the new league structure will work. We’ve just got to make sure that we give ourselves the best chance of having a quality year.

“There’s no other league in the world that’s done this kind of thing so you don’t know at the minute how it’s going to work out. It’s all a guessing game. All I know is that we are down to 12 teams in Super League so the competition’s going to be stronger than ever.

“Everyone’s added to their squads pretty strongly and most teams have had long pre-seasons.

“It’s going to be a big ask for whoever to win the league this year and the pressure will be on the teams in the bottom four, coming round to when the league splits. It’s going to be an interesting one, but we’ve just got to make sure we get in that top eight.

“We haven’t been set any specific targets where we want to finish, it’s more about short term goals leading to long term goals. We look at stats and standards for each game for what everyone is expected to do and what’s not acceptable on the field.

“It’s more important for us to build this team and focus on each game as it comes. That was how we played it last year.

“It’s important we don’t just rest on what we did last season. We’ve got to move on and build on what we did.”