Castleford Tigers: Squad strength pivotal to Tigers' goals says McShane
SQUAD STRENGTH is key to Castleford Tigers' title push, according to hooker Paul McShane.
Tigers are third in the Betfred Super League after opening their Super-8s account with a 28-18 win over Warrington Wolves last week.
Castleford faced the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup finalists without key players including Ben Roberts, Greg Minikin, Luke Gale, Adam Milner, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Alex Foster, Matt Cook and Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e.
It has been a similar story for much of the season, but McShane reckons fringe players stepping up to the mark have kept Tigers in the hunt for a place at Old Trafford.
“We have been missing a few all year and the people who have come in have done their jobs,” said the former Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity man.
“We are still in the hunt for second place so it shows how strong our squad is at the minute.
“It didn’t really get tested much last year; we had a pretty good run with injuries, but we have got some young kids who know our structure and when they’ve come in they have stood up.
“I think that is something that’s really good about the club. They think about the long-term stuff as well as the short term.”
McShane said new players’ ability to slot straight in comes from work out on the practice field.
“Our training is pretty intense,” he added. “You have got to get up to speed pretty quickly.
“The young kids have come in and they are wanting to learn and the new players that’ve come in – especially people who’ve come in halfway through – have been great for us.”
The win over Warrington came a week after Tigers had been pipped by two points at second-placed Wigan Warriors and McShane felt it was just the response they needed.
“We knew we had to be physical from the start of the game,” he said.
“Warrington are a really big side and I thought our pack really got after them and didn’t give them a sniff.
“Competing with the better sides is something we needed to do and it has probably relieved a bit of pressure getting that first win.
“Huddersfield are performing really well so it’s important to keep that gap in front of them.”
Tigers have no game this weekend, because of the Challenge Cup final, but McShane revealed they are already preparing for the visit of the other Wembley side, Catalans Dragons, on September 1.
“We are going to stick in and work on a few things,” he revealed.
“We are going to have a few players coming back from injury who are going to want to get in training and get up to speed.
“We are going to keep tweaking because our goal is to get that second spot.
“If we keep training the way we are and get some key players back we have every confidence we can get there.
“We’ve probably gone under the radar a bit this year so there’s been less pressure.
“The pressure’s from within and the standards we want to set each other.”