ENGLAND candidate Luke Gale reckons Castleford Tigers have had a good season, despite missing out on a shot at Old Trafford.
Last Thursday’s defeat to St Helens and Huddersfield Giants’ win over Warrington Wolves on Sunday ended Tigers’ hopes of a semi-final place in the First Utility Super-8s, but Gale still believes it has been a positive year for the club.
“We have got a lot of new players this year,” he said. “There was a big turnaround and it’s always hard to get the combinations right.
“At the start of the year I think that showed. We started really poorly, but as we’ve gone on we’ve got better and better and it’s unfortunate we’ve finished fifth, just one outside the play-offs.
“It has gone well for me personally and I think with another pre-season we can grow again. We are disappointed, but there’s a lot to build on.”
Gale - who won League Express newspaper’s Albert Goldthorpe award as Super League’s top player - admitted a lack of consistency has been Tigers’ Achilles heel this term. He said: “That’s been summed up in games in recent weeks.
“St Helens put 18 points on us in 10 minutes, then we came back and in the second half we were not so good again. Against Huddersfield the week before, in 10 minutes they scored 18 points.
“I think playing for 80 minutes and being consistent with it is what we’ve struggled with. But we will be working really hard in the last two games and pre-season to try and fix that.”
Tigers have nothing to play for on the table, but Gale insisted they will be fully motivated for Thursday’s derby at Leeds Rhinos, where he began his career.
“Everybody likes going to Headingley,” he said. “The boys are looking forward to it, it’s always a great game.
“They are tough opponents, obviously, but they are coming off the back of two losses and we’d like to think we can go there and get a result.”