FORMER MAN of Steel Rangi Chase reckons Castleford Tigers’ “unbelievable” culture could inspire them to trophy glory this year.
Chase left Tigers to join Salford Red Devils four years ago, but rejoined the club on a short-term deal midway through last season and signed a contract for 2017 after impressing in a seven-game stint.
Tigers made the transition from strugglers to title contenders during Chase’s time away from the Jungle and he reckons their current squad is the best he has been involved with.
Fifth last year, when they were ravaged by injuries, a place in the Betfred Super League semi-finals is Tigers’ initial goal for 2017 and asked if they can win something this year, Chase said: “I think we can.
“That’s what every team will be saying at this time of the season, but I don’t see why not if we play to our potential.
“We came fifth last year with a lot of injuries and they’ve been pretty consistent with where they’ve finished in the table over the last few seasons.
“I think if we keep working hard, it will take care of itself.”
Chase reckons all the ingredients are in place for Tigers to be successful.
“The environment at Cas wasn’t the best when I was first here, but I was enjoying it because I was playing well,” he said.
“The environment today is unbelievable.
“It is run professionally and the culture of the boys and the standards we set for ourselves at training is just unbelievable.
“That is what was missing when I was first here, all the little things; the intensity in training, the skill levels and everything like that.
“It is all there now, plus to add to that, we’ve got a quality squad.
“I have been so impressed by what I’ve seen at training, the standards we set here are the best I’ve been part of.
“The quality we have in every position is awesome. It creates competition for spots.”
Chase faces a battle with fit-again Ben Roberts for a place at stand-off, alongside Dream Team scrum-half Luke Gale.
“I am in a place I’ve never been before, where I have to fight for my position,” Chase admitted.
“It is really good, it has been my goal just to stamp my authority on the team.
“Whether I am starting or not I just want to give it my best and I think I have.
“It is good for me, it is like when I was young, fighting for a position when I first came to Cas. I have stood up to the challenge and embraced it.”
Chase was released by Salford at the end of 2015 and dropped out of the game for a while last year following a five-game spell at Leigh Centurions.
He has spoken of battling depression at times before his move back to Castleford, but said he feels like a “different person” now.
“I am loving it at Castleford, really enjoying it,” he stated.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the place.
“A lot of things can change in a year; my mental state is a lot different to what it was last year, now I am a different person.
“I was in a dark place last year, a lot of things were happening in my life that really shook me up, but when I look back on that person, it’s a different guy. I am in a good place; I have come back here and it’s the best thing I’ve done.”