CASTLEFORD TIGERS captain Michael Shenton is aiming to lead from the front by regaining his 2015 Dream Team form this year.
Shenton was sidelined for all but the opening 27 minutes of last season after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Super League round one draw at Hull KR.
Now fully fit, he reckons that experience has made him a tougher individual ahead of a campaign when Tigers are hoping to make a serious challenge for silverware.
“My knee feels great and I can’t wait for the start of Super League,” Shenton said. “It was a tough one last year missing so much of the season, but it builds a bit of character.
“You’ve just got to stay strong. There was a great support network at the club – and at home as well – so as much as it was frustrating not to play, as soon as the season had gone I put that behind me and moved forward, making sure I was ready to go and have a real good season this year.
“I’ve just got to hope for some good luck this year and make sure I’m playing well.
“I’m hoping to hit that form I was in before I got injured.
“It was frustrating seeing the boys having to do it tough last year with all the injured guys out.
“You could see the boys were having to dig deep, but I think that has put us in a good place for this year. The character that got built last year when the boys were really on their last legs hopefully will help us to build something really special.”
Shenton, who has been named in England’s elite performance squad, confirmed a Super League semi-final spot is Tigers’ goal for 2017.
He said: “I’m sure with the intensity and the talent within this group there will be a great chance of us being in the top-four come the end of the season.
“We’re trying to build something and we’re getting ready now to really kick on. It’s an ambition and a goal of ours to win a trophy this year, but there’s a lot of work to go before it.
“We’ve got to start well and be ready to go. We need to treat every game as a must win game, starting with the first match against Leigh.
“We’ve got some improving to do on last year, especially our defence, but training is going really well and everything’s coming together.”