Castleford Tigers skipper Michael Shenton says this is the year to get back to the top
And he insists the way for them to do that is by ensuring they are a “tough” team, who are hard to beat.
Tigers finished a disappointing eighth in Super League last year, but Shenton reckons everything is set up for them to get back in the mix during 2021.
Castleford’s Betfred Super League campaign begins against Warrington Wolves at Emerald Headingley on Sunday, March 28 and Shenton said: “This is the year the pressure is on us to get it right.”
He stated: “This is the one when everything has come together. Our young halves have been together a good season and Macca [Man of Steel Paul McShane] is in his prime.
“We all know how outstanding Jake Trueman is and he has got over the injury worries he had that hassled him last year. As a young player it is tough when you get your first couple of injuries, how to get through them, but he looks in great shape at the moment.
“We need to bring it all together and play well and it’s about winning games and being tough.
“That’s what this season is about, winning and being a tough team.”
Champions St Helens and league leaders Wigan Warriors remain the benchmark, but sides like Warrington and Hull have strengthened since the end of last year.
“We know the ask, we have seen the other teams out there,” Shenton added. “But, as always, our focus is on ourselves and making sure we are challenging every team we come up against and we are tough to beat.
“We have prided ourselves on that, we are normally in the mix because we have that mentality.”
Tigers have another factor in their favour, the skipper reckons. Fans could be allowed back into stadiums from May, with the derby at home to Leeds Rhinos set to be Tigers’ first home game played in front of a crowd for 14 months. Shenton said: “When we get back down at the Jungle, with the fans behind us, we are definitely going to be a hard team to beat.”
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