After guiding Castleford Tigers to top five finishes in their last three seasons, head coach Daryl Powell is now putting plans down to turn his nearly men into a champion team in 2017.
Powell has expressed his pride in the way the players defied a crippling injury list to finish just one place off the Super League play-offs, but knows there needs to be some improvement if the Tigers are to get hold of some silverware next year.
He said: “The boys will be off now until November 7 then they will come back in and start all over again, getting ready for another season.
“We’re going to have to make some changes to become a champion team.
“I think we’re an excellent rugby league team, but we’re not a champion team yet and there’s some changes we’ve got to do to make that happen.
“The key thing for us that we have got to defend better. We’ve got to target that and then what kind of a force will we be?
“I need to reflect on this season and plan what we’re going to do moving forward.
“We pretty much know what we need to do as coaching staff to change things.
“But first of all we need to take a huge collective sigh of relief and move on.
“I would think the players are looking forward to a rest now. If they are looking forward to it as much as I am then they certainly will be!
“The difficulty this year has been a lack of rotation. I’ve hardly left anybody out of the team this year, it’s just been generally if you’re fit, you play.”
Powell is not expecting much of a turnover of players this time with his squad having more of a settled look about it now.
He added: “Recruitment-wise we’re pretty much there.
“We haven’t named everyone we’ve recruited yet, but there’s not a massive amount of turnover in what we’ll be doing from this year.
“It’s about a fair bit of stability that we’ve got. And we’ve got quite a few players coming back in who haven’t played much this year.
“Michael Shenton and Ben Roberts are like signings for next season and Andy Lynch a little bit. They’ve missed so much of this season.”