Castleford Tigers hooker McShane targets more silverware after Grand Final misery

Oliver Holmes and Paul McShane hold Carl Ablett. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Oliver Holmes and Paul McShane hold Carl Ablett. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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AMID THE disappointment of their Betfred Super League Grand Final defeat, Castleford Tigers hooker Paul McShane managed to be pleased for his former Leeds Rhinos teammates.

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And McShane says the agony of losing at Old Trafford – and missing out on a first championship in the club’s history – has only made Tigers more determined to go one better next year.

The league leaders were beaten 24-6 and McShane said: “We’ve lost one now and we’re even more determined to win one.”

It was Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow’s last game for Leeds and McShane added: “It is not a nice thing to do, watching it, but for me personally I have got some good friends at Leeds and if it wasn’t me I am glad it was them, but it was a hard one to take.

“We didn’t really give ourselves a chance, but Leeds played the game well. They had a good game plan and they stuck to that, they worked hard for each other and they deserved it.”

Paul McShane

Paul McShane

McShane was a non-playing member of Rhinos’ squad when they won the Grand Final in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Saturday was Tigers’ first title decider and of their 17 only Michael Shenton had appeared in a previous Grand Final.

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Tigers seemed overwhelmed by the occasion, but McShane insisted: “I don’t think nerves cause you to drop a ball in contact.

We didn’t complete our sets and Leeds kicked us to death. They were more determined, they were smarter with the ball, they got to the end of their sets and they built pressure.

Castleford Tigers’ Paul McShane

“I just don’t think we looked after the ball well enough. There were too many easy turnovers and Leeds punished us.”

Castleford could have gone ahead after three minutes when Leeds were penalised in front of their owns posts. They opted to take a tap and nothing came of the subsequent attack, but McShane felt that was the right decision.

“It was early in the game,” he recalled. “It is all right saying we should have done it [taken the goal], but you never know.

“That two points wouldn’t have done anything in the game, I don’t think it would have changed anything.”

Castleford Tigers' Nathan Massey tackles Leeds Rhinos' Mitch Garbutt during the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, Manchester. PIC: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Castleford Tigers' Nathan Massey tackles Leeds Rhinos' Mitch Garbutt during the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, Manchester. PIC: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Tigers’ preparations for the final were disrupted when Zak Hardaker was made unavailable for selection due to a breach of club rules.

The club are expected to make a statement on the Dream Team full-back’s future today, but McShane said the situation was not an excuse for Saturday’s defeat.

“We had a decent turnaround and a really good week’s training,” he stressed. “We trained in the same conditions the game was played in, but we just didn’t play well enough.

“We had 17 out there and you can’t point fingers at people not in the 17. We trained all week with that team. I don’t think that’s to blame.

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“We didn’t complete our sets and Leeds kicked us to death. They were more determined, they were smarter with the ball, they got to the end of their sets and they built pressure. In these big games and these conditions it really works.”

Cas prop Nathan Massey echoed McShane’s comments. He said: “It wasn’t our day. Credit to Leeds, they played the conditions better than us and we saved our worst performance for our biggest game of the season.

“We felt confident going in, quite relaxed. On the back of that performance you could say the occasion got to us, but Leeds kept hold of the ball and that was key.

“We couldn’t keep hold of the ball, we didn’t get any field position and they dominated territory. I thought we came out a bit stronger at the start of the second half, but made one error and they scored off the back of it.

“After that we compiled errors on errors and you can’t do that in these big games. We have had a great year, but that hurts - the manner we lost.

“It isn’t nice nearly getting nilled in a Grand Final.

“That wasn’t us, but we will be better for it next year and we will come back stronger.”

Castleford's head coach Daryl Powell speaks to his side after the Grand Final loss (Picture: SWPix.com)

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