HOME FORM holds the key to Castleford Tigers’ prospects this season, predicts half-back Brett Seymour.
“I think we will definitely be vying for a top-eight spot and if we can get there that’ll be tremendous,” said the Australian former Hull pivot. “Realistically that’s where we want to be. On our day we can match the big teams, but we’ve got to make our home ground a fortress.
“You have got to win most of your home games and then try and nick a few away. We’ve got to make this not a nice place to come.”
Seymour got his first taste of Mend-a-Hose Jungle as a home player two days ago, when Tigers thrashed York City Knights 62-6 in a pre-season game.
He said: “It was good. I thought York did themselves pretty proud. It was quite a physical game and it’s good to blow a few cobwebs out and rack up a few points towards the end.
“That’s what we should have done to them, but overall I thought we looked pretty good. I thought everyone played quite well, so it’s a case of taking another step forward next week and the week after and then we are into round one.”
Tigers fielded a strong side, but were without 11 senior players and Seymour reckons that illustrates the depth of coach Daryl Powell’s new-look squad.
“Daryl has got a lot of choices at his disposal,” he said. “It keeps everyone on their toes and I think that’s the way it should be.
“In years gone by Cas have probably had players who have been a bit out of form, but they’ve always kept their spot because there’s no one really to fill in.
“Everyone’s vying for that same position and I am sure, even if it’s not round one, everyone will get a taste at some time in the year.”
Seymour started on the bench, with Marc Sneyd and Liam Finn beginning the game in the halves. He came on in place of hooker Daryl Clark, with Finn moving into the acting-half role.
“There’s a lot of competition in the halves,” he accepted. “I thought Marc Sneyd was really good and Finny was solid.
“We’ve got Dorny [Luke Dorn] waiting in the wings and Jamie Ellis isn’t far away. Everyone’s vying for a spot.”
On a personal note, Seymour was relieved to get a solid 40 minutes’ action under his belt after being off the field since last March.
“I just wanted to get tackled and get that feeling back,” he said. “It’s all a bit new, but as time went on it felt like things were beginning to click. I wasn’t putting too much expectation on myself. There are things to improve on, but I was always thinking that was going to be the case.”
The game against York was the start of the road back for Seymour who was released by Hull last April.
He had a tough time in black and white, leading to a well-publicised bout of severe depression, but feels he is in the right environment at Cas.
“The players have been really welcoming,” he said. “I haven’t had to delve into the past, everyone’s looking forward.
“That’s the way I wanted it. I can’t thank [chief executive] Steve Gill enough for what he’s done for me off the pitch – giving me a chance. It’s really good here. The expectations from the fans are there, but I think they are more supportive. You can feel them getting behind you and they just want their team to give a good showing each week.”
Meanwhile, Tigers have announced a sponsorship deal which will see shopping centre Carlton Lanes’ logo feature on the players’ shorts this season.