Castleford Tigers will be targeting silverware in 2021, insists Oliver Holmes
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It will be Holmes’ 12th season in Tigers’ first-team squad and he insists they can get back among the title challengers after a disappointing 2020.
Tigers finished eighth in Betfred Super League this year, but – according to Holmes – they have learned some harsh lessons.
“You should have the mentality you are going to win every trophy,” Holmes, who last weekend signed a 12-month contract extension, said of Castleford’s aims for 2021.
“That’s definitely everybody’s mentality at the club.
“Having the year we’ve had, it will be a bit more coal on the fire to make that desire burn and push us even harder throughout pre-season, to make sure next year is a successful year.”
Tigers stalwarts including Michael Shenton and Grant Millington are nearing the end of their career and Holmes reckons that is another source of motivation.
“There’s a few lads coming into the last year of their contract and a few might retire at the end of next year,” he noted.
“For them, there’s a lot riding on next year and on the flip side of that, we’ve had to play a couple of young lads this year who probably wouldn’t have got as much game time as they have and they’ve shown they can handle the pace and what it takes to play Super League.
“It has been a real bonus having those lads step up.
“They are gaining more confidence and feeling more comfortable around the lads and comfortable out on the field in a Super League game.
“There’s positives that have come from such a disappointing year. It has been a while since we’ve had a group of young lads come through the system.
“It will be interesting to see them kick on.”
Holmes played once for England two years ago and toured Papua New Guinea with the second-string Knights squad the same autumn, alongside new Tigers signing Niall Evalds.
The full-back was joint second-top try scorer during the 2019 Super League season and Holmes predicted he will bring a new dimension to the team.
He said: “I have experienced a bit of Niall before, we went to Papua New Guinea together with England Knights.
“He was great out there and he has come on in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, which is testament to the coaching staff and himself over at Salford. I’m looking forward to seeing Niall in a Cas shirt and hopefully he can bring the performances he’s had over at Salford over to us.”
Evalds will compete with Gareth O’Brien for the full-back spot and also provide cover in the halves.
“We’ve had Gaz O’Brien here this year and he has probably been one of the highlights of the year for us since lockdown,” Holmes added.
“We desperately needed him since Jordan Rankin left and he has come in and played at full-back and half and wherever he has played he has been very good.
“They way the game has changed, he is definitely going to come in handy.”
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